Come Follow Me LDS 2022 (Feb 28-Mar 6) Genesis 28-33 | Israel Begins – powered by Happy Scribe
You’ve likely heard of the twelve tribes of Israel and the scattering or gathering of the House of Israel. But who or what is the House of Israel? And why does it matter whether or not we find them?
Previously on line upon line. Esau was very angry at Jacob for some family shenanigans and threatened to kill him. So, concerned for Jacob’s life and wanting him to marry in the Covenant, Isaac hastily sends Jacob to find a wife in his mother’s homeland.
Probably feeling a bit lost and down, he stops at a sacred place where his grandfather Abraham had built an altar many years before called Bethel. There, Jacob has a marvelous dream of a ladder stretching from Earth into heaven. No, not that Jacob’s ladder. Not that one, either. This one is filled with Angels going up and down and God standing above it.
The Lord, reconfirms the Abrahamic Covenant, is supposed to be with Jacob and teaches him that all the families of the Earth will be blessed through him. This includes me and you. Yes, you too. The latter represents our own progression in coming to Christ, including saving ordinances and sacred covenants with God. We’re all on different rungs of the ladder, and hopefully we’re always drawing nearer to God.
And while we may occasionally go down a few steps, the most important thing is that the latter is aimed to return to our heavenly Father. Now in Upper Mesopotamia, where his mother, Rebecca came from, Jacob stops at a well. Rachel happens to bring her family sheep to the well at the same time, and Jacob is instantly smitten. They meet, and the Scriptures say Jacob kisses her and weeps. Is this love at first sight or just a friendly greeting?
You decide. However, Jacob didn’t bring a dowry of riches and jewels with him, and in those days you had to pay for your wife. So instead, Jacob promises his future father in law, Laban, to work for seven years in order to pay for the honor of marrying Rachel. But Jacob is totally smitten, and we read that Jacob’s love for Rachel is so strong that the seven years feel as but a day.
Finally, after seven long years of waiting, the traditional wedding feast takes place in the dark of night, with the bride covered in veils. The next morning, Jacob discovers he’s married to the wrong woman. Furious, he confronts Laban about why he’d been tricked to marry Rachel’s older sister, Leah, Laban, Hems, and Haws, but says he’ll allow him to marry Rachel at the end of the week if he promises to work for another seven years. Jacob is so in love that he totally agrees. Now, this didn’t break God’s Commandments, as the Lord allowed for plural marriage at this time.
Gratefully, the Lord makes up for Jacob’s 14 years of hard work and blesses him richly. And thus the House of Israel begins. Oh, yeah, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, which means he who lets God prevail. So Jacob’s family is the House of Israel. One of the most important families in the history of the world.
And while these people aren’t perfect, God qualifies them for their great calling. Now Leah is immediately blessed to have children and has four sons, Reuben, Simeon, Lehi and Judah. Rachel desperately wants children but is unable for many years heartbroken. She gives her handmaid bilhaw to Jacob to have children for her, which was a common practice back then. And bilhaw bears two sons, Dan and Naftali.
Oddly, Leah becomes very jealous and gives her handmade Zilpa to Jacob. Zilpa then gives birth to two sons, Gad and Asher. Then Leah herself has two more sons, Isakar and Zebulin. So Jacob now has ten sons. But Rachel, his first love, doesn’t have any children of her own.
But like the infertility experienced by Sarah and Rebecca, Rachel is also eventually blessed by God to give birth to Joseph as the son of his favorite wife. It’s no wonder that Joseph is Jacob’s favorite son. Years later, Rachel gives birth to Benjamin. And thus Jacob, now named Israel, has twelve sons. These sons and their families are known as the twelve tribes of Israel, or Israelites.
God promises that the Israelites will be his Covenant people as long as they obey his Commandments. Today, thousands of years later, the House of Israel is scattered around the world. One of our jobs as members of the Church is to gather scattered Israel on both sides of the veil. Through serving ministering, teaching, conversion, baptism, as well as temple work for the dead. As people come to know Jesus Christ and receive the ordinances of Salvation, they become part of the House of Israel.
By the way, Lehi is a direct descendant of Israel through Joseph. And Jesus is a direct descendant through Judah. And we discover our own lineage when we receive our patriarchal blessing. Which of the tribes of Israel do you belong to? Oh, and Esau.
Yeah, he becomes a great man and forgives his brother Jacob, who he now gets to call Israel. Next week we’ll learn about a very bad decision made by ten of the sons of Israel. It takes a lot to make these videos, so to keep line upon line free for everyone. Consider donating the links in the description below and thanks for watching. This episode is packed with info so you might want to watch it again to make sure you didn’t miss anything, including the hilarious jokes.
If you feel this video has helped you on your path towards truth and Christian discipleship, please subscribe and share. Most importantly, go read the Scriptures for yourself.