Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jacob = James The Deceiver?!

Having been in a discussion with a friend concerning my ‘Biblical’, ‘Christian’ name, “James”; my friend informed me that my name, “James” is actually a variant of Jacob. He wanted me to realize that Jacob means ‘deceiver’ and ya – da, ya-da ya.

O.k., I had to check this out. Yep! Sure enough; deceiver it is.

Well, I’m sorry (not really), but I just can’t accept this. So, for all of those who will live with this name and feel shame (and possibly attempt to justify some deliberate action) I have found my way to spin some dignity back into our lives.

I went to my Old Testament Word Study Bible, James Strong and a few internet references. I loaded up with some definitions and interpretations, variations of words from which one word comes and so on. You just won’t be able to follow my line of investigation. As I look back over my notes, I can barely see that I should ever make sense of this study again, after I have left it. So, allow me to give a simplified explanation to regain my dignity for having lived as a ‘deceiver’; for which I have not been aware, by the way.

From Genesis, 25:24-26, I see every bit of symbolism involved in the birth account of Jacob and Esau. Even though Jacob actually deceives his father (and before I ever was MADE aware of what ‘Jacob’ meant) I could never accept that the birth of Jacob and the occurrences there-in did not have a greater meaning than “deception”.

The Old Testament is replete with messages from God that come by sight. Observance of action, reveal significant future action.

James Strong Exhaustive Concordance #3290 says of “Jacob” – “Heel catcher”. However, before Mr. Strong defines anything at all, he immediately informs the reader that this name is a derivative of # 6117, aqab = “To swell, cut or up”.

There. That should solve it! No? Well, I don’t know how my imagination was able to develop some understanding of this. But, I’ll break it down for you. You can call it ‘deception’ if you so desire. I don’t really know how I came up with this. But, here it goes.

The words: “Swell”, being, ‘large’; “Cut”, being, ‘to strike’ and “Up”, ‘to advance’.

#6117 from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is defined by Strong. He tells us that this word is used only as the denominative. From #6119 – ‘aqeb’; “To seize by the heal”; To circumvent – meaning to go around or behind; and (of any army) with lier in wait, we get the idea of a military strategy; an ambush.

So, Jacob, being in the womb (his incubation period) symbolizes Israel’s (the nation) incubation period in Egypt. Jacob went to Egypt with 70 members (to include his extended family) of his family (Exodus 1:5). The nation of Israel became “large” (from Strong’s definition #6117) and came out as in coming out of the womb. “Large” being “swell”.

When the Israelites came out of Egypt, they spent 40 more years in growth (or a period of regeneration) in the desert. Then, began a series of campaigns (“cut”, being ‘strike’) and they advanced toward Canaan (or “Up” being ‘advance’). The Israelites literally did make a North East advance.

The acts that physically took their place in history are a **‘type’** to what Christ does for us. His church began small, like Israel. The church grew and came out with power by the Holy Spirit. Each member of the church now has the opportunity to claim victory over death and enjoy rest in God’s Kingdom of Heaven from which we see a picture, via the conquest of Canaan.

Foot note:
Types are found in the Bible to serve as an indicator, pointing to a
future reality of the 'type' previously seen. A type may also be
stated as 'a foreshadowing' of some future event.

I've been toying around with the idea that I am bothered by what the name 'Jacob' means, and the fact that 'Jacob' may be translated as 'James'. Really, the translation and meaning does not bother me. What I have been discussing here, is how Jacob was a picture of the triumphs, challenges and defeats of the Nation of Israel. But not only Israel; the family of God in general. We have all wrestled with God as my friend Larry from Nite Writ pointed out in his comment.


Nitewrit said...


Funny, I was just thinking about Jacob's nature while driving to work a couple days ago. I was thinking about his name in context with other great people in the Bible and their flaws (probably forming another Post somewhere in the back of my brain). Anyway, Jacob was given promises by God before he was born, but right from birth, Jacob kept trying to make things happen on his own, rather than let God do it. He wrestled with God, just like we do, and his life was one deception after another. Got him in a lot of trouble, too.

He was named "heel grasper", because he was holding his twin brother's heel when being born.

The name James, which derives from Jacob does mean "deceiver", but also means "supplanter". People like Zebedee may have named their first son this because the first son would supplant them someday. or they may have been honoring Jacob.

But take heart, being named james can be a great honor in itself. .James the Apostle was one of the inner circle to Christ among the twelve and a great early leader and James, the brother of jesus wrote the Book of james. Not bad to have that name, brother.

Now what do I have? Larry, Moe and Curly? Larry, Darryl and Darryl? (Think of the joshing I took on that since my son's name is Darryl. He did too.)

I hope you live up to your namesakes...and I live down mine.


jeleasure said...

Thanks for the comment, Larry.
Have a great Sunday.
You point out something else, here in your post. I was allowing for Jacob to be a picture of Israel's triumphs and failures with our Lord. Yes, Israel does as Jacob did wrestle with the Lord. We as God's family do wrestle with the Lord.

preacherman said...

I found this post to be very interesting. You have made me open my eyes to the text. Thanks brother.

Vicki said...

My Dear One,
I am proud to be married to a man with the name "James".

Jacob started out by being a deceiver, but he had a change of heart. He wrestled with an angel of God for a blessing before facing his brother, Esau, who suffered greatly from his deceptions. He took his family away from their secure home by faith. With these changes, he no longer was the deceiver, but a man of God, and a patriarch. We worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Then God changed his name to Israel, which many of his decendents use today for their identity.

There are 3 significant James of the New Testament: Two dicisples of Jesus, one being the brother of John. also James, the brother of Jesus who headed The Way (church) in Jerusalem.

Now what about you. Just like all of us in the human race, you have been a deceiver also. But you have changed and repented, like Jacob. You are searching, asking hard questions, often wrestling with angels, and desiring deeply to help others find the love of Christ that means so much to you.

So again I will say that I am proud of your name, James, My Beloved.


Tamela's Place said...

Hello Jim,

I would have to agree and say we all have a Jacob side to us. All of God's people have been given promises by Him and in our zealousness and anticipation to grab onto those promises we have a tendency to become impatient and make the promises come to us in our timing and in our way and not Gods. Then comes the battles. But repentance is usually right around the corner. God is so merciful and longsuffering toward us.

Even Abraham became impatient when waiting for his promised Son to be given to him by his beloved Sarah, and in his impatience and anticipation he gave himself to his concubine and she bore Ishmael.

I love the types and shadows of the Word of God. The New testament is the fulfiling of the old and together they paint a awesome picture of God's hand at work in and among His people.

One of the greatest teachings of types and shadows that i have learned is when Adam and Eve sinned they immediately tried to cover their sin by covering themselves with fig leaves. With the new covenant our sins are now covered with the blood of Christ Jesus. Thank you Jesus!

James is a great name and you are blest of the Lord :)

jeleasure said...

Hi T.
Thanks for the comments.
Yes, the fig leaves were an important detale in the story of God's adversity with man. However, obviously inappropriate. But, did you ever consider that God forgave them because, in the use of the fig leaves, Adam and Eve demonstrated their shame and remorse? What do you think?

Gigi said...

I think nowadays, names are given to children for far different reasons than in days past - and especially Biblical times. We name our children now to honor a family member or friend, to be trendy, or just because we like the way it sounds...Not necessarily because of what it means. I will say though, that our son Matthew received his name precisely because of what it means: David Matthew = Beloved Gift of God. And he has been just that...since the day he was born.

Just know, James, that the Almighty knows the content of your heart as well as your character! Your name is meaningless to him...He calls you His child.

jeleasure said...

Hi Gigi,
We are praying for Steve and yourself.

Yes, I have heard more names being given to newborns because of how it sounds or what is trendy. I can't believe that one. Trendy is rediculous. My mom actually did that with one of my brothers..Brock, like some soapopera character.

Gigi said...

James, as always, we thank you and Vicki so very much for the prayers...I saw your question on my blog and I hope I've answered it for you.

thekingpin68 said...

The acts that physically took their place in history are a **‘type’** to what Christ does for us. His church began small, like Israel. The church grew and came out with power by the Holy Spirit. Each member of the church now has the opportunity to claim victory over death and enjoy rest in God’s Kingdom of Heaven from which we see a picture of via the conquest of Canaan.

Good research, Jim. Jacob had his faults but was used by God in plans leading to the gospel and the culminated Kingdom.

In a sense in Jacob we can see our sinful selves, and at times by God's grace we can see his Christlike nature/potential, and ours when used by the Lord.

jeleasure said...

As always, I so appreciate your comments. These were good ones.
I guess you can see that I have come out of that problem I had for a while. I don't know how you function with as little sleep as you get.
What did you think when I was complaining about only getting two or three hours of sleep a night? 'Whimp', maybe?

Greg said...

Take heart, "James". Revelation tells us that Jesus will give us a white stone, with a new name written on it. :)

Now what's really interesting is that Larry is not the only who's been thinking about Jacob and Esau. This week, I ran into a little study (sermon-in-the-making, actually, though my only priestly anointing has been done by Jesus Himself), where I discussed something very interesting between the two brothers. Maybe I'll post it sometime soon.

jeleasure said...

Honestly, I'm not feeling bad about my name. I was being facetious. Just playing out a little entertainment.
I sent you an email with a picture of Craig.

thekingpin68 said...

I get plenty of sleep (10+ hours a night), but due to apnea my oxygen intake is poor. The CPAP helps somewhat, but I need the braces for a year and the mandible and maxilla bones moved forward 12 mm. My sleep quality is not good.

You are cool, Jim. Just research your material, use scholars, present it with objectivity and let people have their own take on it.;) As much as you can, don't expect a certain reaction or take. Like I state, carry a Bible (related books) in one hand and a club in the Defend the truth, but never return evil for evil. I struggle with this daily.

I hope the thing with Rick B, is straightened out soon. I emailed the LDS directly.

Tamela's Place said...

Hi jim,

Yes out of their shame and remorse they were trying to cover themselves. Nothing in and of ourselves can cover our sins only the blood of Jesus can!