Gluten Free & God Seeking

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Why Did Jacob Call the Two Altars in Genesis 33 & 35 By Different Names?

    After twenty years of wheeling and dealing, God told Jacob in Genesis 31:3 to head back to Canaan. When Jacob returned, he built his very first altar in Shechem and called it El-Elohi-Israel (Gen. 33:20).  In Hebrew that name means the God of Israel. But after tragedy struck, God told him to go to Bethel.  And when he arrived there, he built another altar, but he gave it a totally different name.  Jacob called this altar El-Bethel, which in Hebrew means the God of the house of God (Gen. 35:7).  

Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there, and make there an altar unto God.  Genesis 35:1

    What I read in chapter 80 of the Life-Study of Genesis helped me not  to gloss over these two names, because actually they are very meaningful. In this section Witness Lee points out that in Shechem Jacob named the altar after his own name, but in Bethel, he called it after the God of a corporate dwelling place. The light in this chapter is phenomenal; here are some key parts on pages 1026, 1028, and 1030 that bring out  how these two altars connect to our Christian life:
"In Genesis 35 we see a crucial and radical turn. However, not many children of God appreciate this. They read this chapter again and again without recognizing the radical turn contained in it.  Before this chapter, God was the God of individuals. He was the God of Abel, the God of Enosh, the God of Enoch, the God of Noah, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac.  But here He is no longer just the God of individuals, but El-Bethel, the God of the house of God…. This is also true of the experience of God, for the experience of God has a corporate aspect as well as an individual aspect….In calling the altar [at Shechem] El-elohe-Israel, he was actually calling it the God of himself.
… The individual experience of God is good, but it is insufficient. We need to go on from the individual experience to the corporate experience.... But where was that consecration--at Shechem or at Bethel?….But the consecration I made after coming into the church life was much higher than any previous consecration" (Lee, Witness.  Life-study of Genesis.  Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1978, Print)
Walking with  my grandkids.
    After reading this I could see that if we're not careful our whole Christian life can just center on our own holiness, spirituality, or victory. But God has a need for a house. We know from looking at the Old Testament that God had a dwelling place with the tabernacle and the temple, but that wasn't God's ultimate goal.

   In the New Testament we see  that  in 1 Timothy 3:15 we can see that the church is the house of the living God.  I liked this prayer in the end of the chapter:  "Lord, now I would make a thorough and specific consecration to You, not that I might be holy, spiritual, or victorious, but that I might experience Your house and remain in it"(1032).

You can  also listen to live excerpts from these messages on  Genesis on Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee.  

Other Posts on the Life-Study of Genesis:

From the Life-Study of Genesis - What is the Focus of the Bible?
What Happened Between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2?
Why Did God Create Man in Genesis 1:26?
Why Did God Create Man With 3 Parts in Genesis 2:7?
Why Did God Put Man in Front of the Two Trees in Genesis 2?
Seeing God's Purpose of Life & Building in the Book of Genesis
What is the Story Behind the Story of Cain & Abel?
What Did Enosh Learn to Do in Genesis 4:26?
How Did Enoch Escape Death in Genesis 5:24?
Why Did Noah Need to Find Grace in Genesis 6:8?
What Does the Rainbow Symbolize in Genesis 9:13?
How Did God Call Abraham in Genesis 12:1?
How Did God Fulfill the Birth of Isaac in Genesis 12:7?
What Does the Marriage of Isaac & Rebekah Show in Genesis 24?
How Does the Story of Jacob Show God's Selection in Genesis 25?
Seeing Our Spiritual Journey in the Lives of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob
What is the Meaning of the Two Altars in Genesis 33 & 35?

Other posts on God's Building:

From the Life-Study of Matthew:
What is the Significance of the Parables on the Treasure & the Pearl of Great Value in Matthew 13:44-46?

From the Life-Study of Acts:
What Does the Early Church Look Like in the Book of Acts?
How Did the Lord Spread the Gospel in Acts 8?
What Vision Did Saul Have at His Conversion in Acts 9:3-8?
How Does the Gospel Reach the Gentiles in Acts 10?

From the Life-Study of Romans:
What is the Focus of Romans 12?
What Does Romans 14 Say About Receiving Believers & Why Does It Matter?
Have You Seen the Practical Church Life in Romans 16?

From the Life-Study of 1 Corinthians:
What is God Building in 1 Corinthians 3:9?
What Does it Mean to Build in 1 Corinthians 3:12 With Gold, Silver, & Precious Stones?
What is the Apostle Paul's View of the Body in 1 Corinthians 12?
How Did the Early Believers Meet in 1 Corinthians 14:26?

From the Life-Study of Ephesians:
What is the Subject of Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians?
What is the Mystery of God's Will Revealed in Ephesians 1:9?
What is the One New Man in Ephesians 2:15?
What are the Seven Aspects of the Church Seen in Ephesians?
Why Did God Abolish the Ordinances in Ephesians 2:15? 

From the Life-Study of Colossians:
What is the Mystery of God in Colossians 2:2? (Part 1)
What is the Mystery of Christ in Ephesians 5:32?   (Part 2)
What is the Greatest Mystery?
How Does God Get the One New Man in Colossians 3:10?

From the Life-Study of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus & Philemon:
Looking at the Church's Decline in 2 Timothy
From the Life-Study of 2 Timothy - How Did Paul Inoculate the Church Against Decline?

From the Life-Study of 1 Peter:
How Does God Get the Living Stones in 1 Peter 2:5?

From the Life-Study of Revelation:
What is the Controlling Vision of he Bible Seen in the Book of Revelation?

From the Life-Study of Genesis:
Seeing Life & Building in the Book of Genesis
Why Did Jacob Dream About a Ladder in Genesis 28:12?
What is the Meaning of the Two Altars in Genesis 33 & 35?

From Lessons for New Believers by Witness Lee:
Discussion with College Students: What is the Church?

No comments:

Post a Comment