Jacob, a type of Christ
What does it mean to be a Type of Christ? Join me on this journey and allow the Bible to come alive to you. Throughout scripture, there are many types of Christ. Some of those types are people who walked this earth thousands of years before us. The events in their lives pointed forward to the new covenant and to Jesus Christ.
You don’t need to know these things to be a Christian or to live in the power of God. Yet, understanding the foreshadowing helps us understand what God is really like. Understanding gives us insight into His character and the way God does things- past, present, and future. Understanding increases our faith and our hope.
Son and brother
Jacob was the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham. From Jacob, the Children of Israel received their name. Jacob means “to supplant, circumvent.” Jacob was known for conniving to get his way; he was not always honest. Chosen by God to be the patriarch of the family, he was the leader of his family of twelve sons with two wives and two maids. In many ways, his family was a mess. There was discord among his sons of different mothers, and discord among his wives. Yet in this person we see Jacob a type of Christ.
Jacob was a second-born twin, yet God chose him to be the leader before his birth. It had nothing to do with who Jacob was or what he accomplished. It had everything to do with God’s plan for him. Romans 9:10-13 explains this.
Jacob was estranged from his brother Esau, and much of it was his own doing. Jacob was a trickster and a deceiver. You can read about that here and here, yet God chose Jacob to be the father of the nation of Israel!
A Blessing – and Angels
Jacob had two encounters or altar experiences. One of them was when he left home, and the second was when he returned home.
Jesus left His home in Heaven to come in the form of human man. Later, He returned Home to Heaven. Both of those instances are marked by angels, for they heralded His birth, ministered to Him in the Garden, and proclaimed His resurrection to visitors at the empty tomb.
God is actively involved in our lives, even when we might not be aware, and even when we fail Him. In our lives, there is a leaving God and a coming back to Him. Jesus left the glories of Heaven to become Savior to sinful man, then He ascended back to eternal glory, returning home.
Following Jacob’s deceit with his brother, he left for Haran. He was going to visit his father’s kindred, but in actuality, he was running, running for his life. While en-route, Jacob spent a night under the stars, where he had a vision. At this place, God promised him a nation from his descendants. He built an altar, worshiped God, and named the place Bethel. Through Jacob, God promised to bring the Messiah. Jacob used a pillar to build his alter. In Revelation, God says that the One who overcomes will be made a pillar in the temple of God.
Twenty years later, Jacob decided to go back home. The night before he was to meet his brother after years of separation, he had an encounter with God. He met an angel [God] who wrestled with him. During the scuffle, the angel put Jacob’s hip socket out of joint. Jacob told him, “I won’t leave until you bless me.” He named that place Peniel, and it was in that place he received the blessing.
A new name for Jacob
Along with the blessing, Jacob also received a new name, Israel. Scripture tells us that the angel told him,
Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
Jacob was a changed man. His heart toward his brother had already changed before this encounter. He still made mistakes. His family was still a mess, but God was changing Jacob, and his sons would be the foundation of God’s people Israel. In this, we see in Jacob a type of Christ. In Jesus Christ, we receive a new name. When God makes a change in our hearts, we have a new name. The old is gone, and the new comes in.
Through Jacob, God developed His nation, Israel. “Jacob” means “God” or “God contends.” Jacob was the chosen one through whose nation the Messiah would come. This shows Jacob as a type of Christ.
Jesus is also God’s Chosen One. This nation was formed by the twelve sons of Jacob. These twelve sons became the foundation of the nation Israel. Revelation mentions the twelve tribes at the end of times. The Church was formed through Jesus. The twelve disciples became the foundation for the church Jesus built, with Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone.
In Jacob, we see a man who was cunning, conniving, and a deceiver. In Christ, Jacob became a changed man. God chose Jacob to become the father of many nations, beginning with Israel. In his new name, blessing of God, and in being the father of Israel, Jacob’s life pointed forward to the Savior.
Through Jacob, the scarlet thread continues, pointing to Redemption.Like Jacob, we can be blessed by God when we change our ways and believe on Him.
Attribution for photos belongs to www.freebibleimages.org.