LEAH AND RACHEL
Copyright © 1992 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Leah and Rachel, the wives of Jacob, symbolize two aspects of redemption that are necessary if we would inherit the Kingdom of God. Leah, the lesser beauty, represents the rigors of discipleship, the part of salvation that is painful to us. Rachel portrays what we desire of God and of life—the part of our Divine calling and inheritance that brings joy to us.
We endure Leah, the cross, because of the joy of Rachel set before us. Leah gives us the spiritual strength necessary for rulership in the Kingdom while Rachel brings the compassion of heart that reveals the Presence of God to the nations. Together the two bear much fruit.
The story of Jacob (Israel) is that of each Christian disciple.
There was a Divine calling abiding on Jacob. Although Jacob and Esau were twins, God loved Jacob and hated Esau.
(for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),
it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”
As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” (Romans 9:11-13)
The work and concept of Divine foreknowledge and election will become of increasing importance as we approach the end of the present age. In the churches of today there exist both the wheat of God and the tares of Satan. The wheat are the true children of God, having been chosen of God from the creation of the world. They truly have been born of God. The tares are the children of Satan.
“The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. (Matthew 13:38)
If any person who reads these words is troubled thinking that he never has been called of God, let him not concern himself with whether he is called of God but rather with doing God’s will. Let him make his calling and election certain by seeking the Lord with all his heart, working out his salvation with fear and trembling. The Lord Jesus will receive whoever comes to Him in sincere faith.
However, the prevailing attitude of overconfidence and carelessness is not of God. Whether or not we truly have been called of God is revealed in our behavior, not so much in our doctrinal confession.
In the last days the Lord will send forth many different kinds of messengers: spirits, people, circumstances. These will remove from the Kingdom of God the persons who never have been born of God. The individuals in the churches who are not clothed in the Divinely ordained garments will not be able to stand during the shaking that even now is coming upon us.
The Kingdom net brings in multitudes of people. Each of them will be tried by fire.
Jacob represents the true man of God, the person who is of the foreknowledge and election of God. Jacob started out as a young man, leaving his family, Isaac, Rebekah, and Esau, in order to find a wife for himself.
No human being is anything at all until he or she is “married.” We are using the term symbolically, as soon will be evident.
All humans are nothing more than the dust of the ground. It is only as we enter union (marriage) with God that we are able to be or do anything of eternal worth. God is substantial and eternal. The life of man is but a vapor. Man is dust, fashioned in the image of his Creator.
As soon as Jacob started on his way, God visited him. Jacob saw the Lord’s Christ.
Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:12)
It is Christ who is the Ladder reaching from earth to Heaven.
And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (John 1:51)
The Ladder of God always is set up on the earth, not in Heaven. The angels of God ascend and then descend on the Ladder, revealing that the base of operations is the earth. The work begins and ends on the earth. The life and glory of the Kingdom come from Heaven but the revelation of God is in the earth.
God met Jacob personally because Jacob’s calling had to be confirmed. God always meets each of us personally because the election that abides on us must be confirmed.
God met the Lord Jesus personally when His ministry was about to begin.
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.
And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16,17)
Isaac had blessed Jacob previously (Genesis 28:3,4). So it is with us. There comes a time in our life when we are blessed and called in some specific manner. We may (or may not) have been raised in a Christian family. We may have the blessing of our church on us. Then there must be subsequent confirmations of the calling of God. God must speak to us personally concerning our unique inheritance in Himself.
And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: “I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.
“Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” (Genesis 28:13-15)
God calls us and gives us a vision. Now we go in search of a “wife,” looking for some reality in the spirit realm. For only in the spirit realm is there substance, life, and eternal joy.
Jacob did not wait long. As soon as he came to the land of his relatives he found Rachel. Rachel was beautiful but Leah, her sister, was plain and unattractive—due, apparently, to the appearance of her eyes.
Jacob served Laban for seven years in payment for the hand of Rachel. On his wedding night he was given Leah. One week later Jacob received Rachel.
The Lord has ways of attracting us to Himself. But along with the joy there must be pain; for it is pain (crucifixion) that removes what is in us that is not of God.
The addition of Leah to the promised Rachel happens to every true saint. Every one of God’s elect must have both his Leah and his Rachel.
Leah symbolizes the part of our salvation that is painful to us. Leah was not attractive. Leah’s qualities were not obvious from an earthly standpoint. But whoever would have the beautiful Rachel must receive Leah also.
Rachel is what we desire of God and of life, the part of our Divine calling and inheritance that brings joy to us. We endure Leah, the cross, because of the joy of Rachel that is set before us. The vision of joy moves us to press on and on. The “book” of the Lord’s calling is sweet in our mouth but in our belly it is bitter. It is Leah (Revelation 10:10).
Although Jacob was a schemer he did have integrity. He did not divorce Leah. Leah remained Jacob’s wife until she died. Jacob buried Leah in the cave of Machpelah in the land of Canaan, the burial place of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah—of Jacob himself.
“in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite as a possession for a burial place.
“There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah. (Genesis 49:30,31)
For his sons carried him to the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, before Mamre, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite as property for a burial place. (Genesis 50:13)
Numerous Christians of our day lack integrity. People have become lovers of themselves. When any thing or circumstance displeases them they get rid of it, even though they must breach their honor in order to do so. They will not accept the bitter with the sweet.
Many believers, including some ministers, have put Leah out of their life. By so doing they have put rulership with Christ out of their future. They may be saved into God’s Kingdom when the Lord returns but they will not govern with Christ.
The person of integrity will suffer any pain rather than betray a trust. The person lacking integrity will betray any trust rather than suffer pain. The person lacking integrity can never make a success of the Christian discipleship.
The “believers” who lack character desire “Rachel” only. They grasp the part of God that is attractive to them. They refuse to share in the suffering of Christ. They seek the joy, glory, and honor of the Kingdom of God but they have no intention of enduring patiently the cross Christ gives them. They cast off Leah even though lawfully she is married to them. The presence of Leah is detestable to them and they will not accept it.
The Christians of today embrace Rachel. Leah of the weak eyes is rejected. God has given each Christian a cup of sorrows to drink. The cup of sorrows is a medicine for our lustful self-centeredness. To not drink our medicine to the last drop is to come at last to sickness and death. Those who live in the appetites of the flesh will die spiritually (Romans 8:13).
God knows what He is doing with each of us. We must have our Rachel and we must have our Leah.
God is a God of recompense. God saw that Leah was hated while Rachel was loved. Therefore God opened the womb of Leah and she bore many sons to Jacob. Rachel remained barren.
The reader may recall the story of the rich man and Lazarus. While living in the world the rich man possessed all his heart could desire. The beggar suffered greatly.
The tale of the rich man and Lazarus has to do with the Kingdom principle of compensation. Those who mourn now will be comforted. Those who laugh now will weep later.
Leah was a “mourner” because she was hated by her husband. God comforted Leah with sons causing her to rejoice greatly. Rachel, although Jacob loved her, could find no rest because she had borne no children to Jacob.
From Leah poured the strength of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah—names inscribed forever on the gates of the new Jerusalem.
Judah, the ruler, always is developed in us through Leah, through that which is abhorrent and painful to us. It only is as we suffer that the spiritual strength to rule with God is created in us. Christians who reject their Leah can never rule with Christ.
Levi, the priest of God, also came through Leah. If we would be a priest, a gate opening into the city of God, we must suffer many things, bearing with patience the seemingly endless irritations and harassments that God sends to test and refine us. The gates are pearls!
The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (Revelation 21:21)
Now it was Rachel’s turn to mourn. She had no children. But as it is written, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Joseph, the deliverer of nations, came from Rachel.
One of the greatest mistakes a Christian can make is to reject either Leah or Rachel. Both Leah and Rachel were the lawful wives of Jacob.
To reject Leah, to choose to live “deliciously,” to attempt to make our own Paradise on earth, is to prevent our growth in spiritual strength. In so doing we lose the Kingdom because the Kingdom of God is the rule of a perfected royal priesthood over the material realm.
to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just [righteous] men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)
It is Leah whom we hate who is developing in us the law of Israel, the moral iron of him who struggles with God:
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people. (Genesis 49:10)
Leah forms in us the strong heart of the priest—the person who is willing to bear the burden of others. Notice how Aaron was directed to bear the burden of Israel on his shoulders and the care of the people on his heart.
“And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders as a memorial. (Exodus 28:12)
“So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel on the breastplate of judgment over his heart, when he goes into the holy place, as a memorial before the LORD continually. (Exodus 28:29)
To reject Rachel, on the other hand, is to lose one’s touch with the world of man, to become excessively spiritual. The nations of the earth are waiting to be loved. They are waiting for deliverance, for the spiritual kings and priests who are to come and rule them and care for them. It is Leah who gives us the iron but it is Rachel who gives us the love for the people.
To divorce Rachel, the one who moved us with joy in the first place, is to attempt to become as an angel of God rather than a human being. We become so preoccupied with perfecting our spiritual nature that we no longer are attracted to the world of people, to the nations of the earth. Our religious perfections become our goal; not Christ and His inheritance, but spiritual excellence.
The devil showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world. Jesus did not say, I want nothing to do with the world, I am interested in going to Heaven. Rather, Jesus responded: “It is written that man is to serve and worship God and no one else.”
The issue of the Kingdom of God is not that of leaving the earth and going to Heaven. The issue of the Kingdom is that of performing God’s will in a redeemed earth—the earth of Rachel.
How frequently the Christian salvation is presented as a means of leaving the earth and going to Heaven! This is to reject Rachel. Rachel is our tie to the people whom God has created. There comes a time in our life when God breaks our heart for the nations. It is the love of Jesus in us, for Jesus’ inheritance is the nations.
Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession. (Psalms 2:8)
God promised Abraham he would be a father of many nations, not just of the one nation, Israel, but of “many nations” (Genesis 17:4).
The Abrahamic blessing concerning the nations of the earth was brought forward in Jacob:
“Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. (Genesis 28:14)
The promise concerning the nations continued with Ephraim, the son of Joseph, who was the son of Jacob by Rachel:
But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” (Genesis 48:19)
The fulfillment of God’s promise is described by Zechariah:
“Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. (Zechariah 2:11)
The nations of the earth throughout history that have demonstrated a kindly attitude toward God’s witnesses will enter the Kingdom of God, into eternal life. These nations are the inheritance of Christ and His brothers, His saints. They will partake of the Life of Christ, becoming Abraham’s children and heirs of the promised glory.
“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matthew 25:34)
Rachel, our original joy, dies along the way.
So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). (Genesis 35:19)
So it is that the springs of our motivation for living on the earth must die on the way to Bethlehem, on the way to the birth of Christ in us. It is Rachel who will inherit the nations of the earth, but only through her death and resurrection.
To the believer, the new creation who comes in him is Benoni (the son of my sorrow) (Genesis 35:18). The child also is Benjamin (the son of the right hand). Christ who is born in us always ascends immediately to the right hand of God in preparation for the Day of Christ. In that Day, all who are in Christ at the right hand of the Father will be revealed to the nations of the earth (Colossians 3:4).
The greatest need of the present hour is for people who are willing to allow God to slay the heart of their personality in order that the eternal Life of Christ may be brought forth. It is the “son of my sorrow,” and anyone who thinks it isn’t a sorrow has never experienced the bringing forth of Christ in the human personality.
It is also the “son of the right hand.” The “son of my sorrow” who becomes the “son of the right hand” is the one destined to inherit earth’s peoples.
He who is born of Rachel (Joseph), after being disciplined in God’s school, becomes the heir of the earth. The grandson of Rachel was Ephraim, the one chosen of God to carry on the promise made to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations.
Leah, who is abhorrent to us, gives us the spiritual strength to sit on the thrones that govern the universe. In Rachel we have the heart to love and bless the nations. Judah (of Leah) is the Lord, the King from Heaven. Joseph (of Rachel) inherits the earth.
It is our love for Rachel that inspires us to serve for many years. But Leah is given us along with Rachel. Rachel must die on the way to Bethlehem. Leah does not die along the way. Leah goes to the place of Abraham and Sarah, of Isaac and Rebekah, and of Israel himself (Genesis 49:31).
Throughout our Christian journey there remains the temptation to throw Leah aside, to set aside our cross. We always must keep in mind that it is given to Christ alone to lift the cross from our back. He who divorces Leah before he comes to the place of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will never rule with God. The true saint always behaves himself honorably with Leah, and discovers eventually that the strength of Israel, of the struggler with God, comes from her.
After Leah has done her work in us, God brings us to Rachel in a new way. The part of us we assumed was cursed of God and would be barren forever becomes pregnant. Joseph is born in exceedingly great joy—he who is destined to go down into Egypt (the world) and nourish and sustain all the nations of the earth.
So all countries came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all lands. (Genesis 41:57)
Finally Benjamin, the son of the right hand is brought forth. Only they who have in them Christ’s love for the nations, which never can come from Leah but proceeds from Rachel alone, from our crucified and resurrected humanity, are given the nations. In them shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.
(“Leah and Rachel”, 3970-1)