Gen 35:20 The Pillar on Rachel’s Grave 11/25/2012
#1. On the Way to Bethlehem (Gen 35:16)
#2. From Luz to Bethel (Gen 35:6,8-9, 24:59, Heb 11:29-30, Rom 10:17, Eph 2:12, Eph 1,2)
#3. The Call of Jacob and the Call of Israel (Eph 2:3, Ezek 36:27, Gen 35:10, Rom 9:6, Isa 9:6, Phil 1:6, 1Sam 2:8)
Gen 35:19 The Pillar on Rachel’s Grave 11/25/2012
Please open your Bible to Genesis chapter 35:19. This is a study of Genesis chapter 35 and it is chapter 24 in the book “the Revelation of Jesus Christ.” It contains a section of the travels of Jacob in the land of Canaan after he came back from Padanaram, where he acquired two wives, two concubines, eleven sons, one daughter, and many slaves and many sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, cows, bulls, and so on. Jacob was a rich man. In Genesis 35:20 we find a very puzzling verse. Let us pick it up in verse 19:
Gen 35:19, And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.
Gen 35:20, And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day.
“That is the pillar on Rachel’s grave unto this day.” In other words, historically, Jacob erected a memorial on the grave of Rachel to remind all his descendants of the place where the wife that he loved so much, Rachel, was buried. But then we have to ask what this has to do with the gospel and why has God put this in the Bible. Do we have to answer all these questions? Absolutely, yes!
Adopting a plain historical explanation of the Bible is a carnal approach to the Bible and it makes the Bible to be like any other historical book. A plain historical interpretation of the Bible does a great deal of injustice to the words God has written, for God has written it for our edification. What is edification? To edify means to instruct spiritually, or to instruct in moral and spiritual knowledge. In other words, God wrote the Bible to instruct us in His plan of salvation. A plain historical interpretation of the Bible does not do this. We have to look for the spiritual dimension of the words that we read, especially when the words are impossible to understand in the historical grammatical sense. And thus when we read, “That is the pillar on Rachel’s grave unto this day” we realize that it is impossible to understand this in the historical sense.
When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we want to take a good look at this memorial that Jacob has set up on Rachel’s grave. Is there a connection here? That is why the title of this chapter is “The Pillar on Rachel’s Grave.” Why does this chapter appear in the midst of a study of Revelation? We will answer this question when we get to the end of this chapter. Have patience! Let us pick up the context beginning at Genesis 35:1. The first thing we see here is that death reigns in this chapter. Death reminds us of sin.
Š Deborah Died and Rachel Died (Gen 35:1–20)
We need to see the context of this story in Genesis chapter 34. Jacob planned to stay in Shechem, for he built an altar there, but his sons Simeon and Levi murdered all the males in Shechem. And here we can see again how God works out His plans through the sins of man. Jacob was thus forced to flee that part of the country, which was God’s plan in the first place. Now we enter Genesis 35:1–20.
Gen 35:1–20, And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.
Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:
And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.
And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.
And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.
So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.
And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.
But Deborah Rebekah’s nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth.
And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him.
And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.
And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;
And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.
And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him.
And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon.
And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.
And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour.
And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.
And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, [for she died] that she called his name Benoni [Son of my sorrow] but his father called him Benjamin [Son of the right hand].
And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.
And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day.
“Rachel was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.” Historically, this happened.
#1. On the Way to Bethlehem (Gen 35:16)
Jacob set up a memorial on Rachel’s grave “unto this day.” When you see those words, “unto this day,” what does it mean? It means that this memorial is still present today; and it will be present tomorrow and next year, for if you read this text next year, you will still read it as “unto this day.” God does not lie. The principle of this memorial applies until the end of time. But does it now mean that today you can go to a place near Bethlehem and see this pillar that Jacob erected in the honor of Rachel? If you try this, you will most likely be led to one of the tourist attractions that were set up primarily to rake in money from tourists.
Just think of the following odds: The children of Israel were in Egypt for 430 years. During that long period of time, the Canaanites were in the land, and they cared little about a burial site that this family of nomads had left in the land. Four hundred thirty years is a long time. It is almost twice as long as our nation is in existence. Then the children of Israel came again, and they slowly conquered the land of Canaan one city at a time. But then the Babylonians overran the land in the year 587 BC. They totally devastated the land and left it to the Samaritans and to the wild beasts for about fifty years. The remnant of the people who returned was of a different generation who came primarily to establish Jerusalem, and they likely did not remember where Rachel’s grave was. But if they did, then in the year AD 70 the revolt of the Zealots triggered the wrath of the Roman Empire. The result was that Jerusalem was thoroughly destroyed and burned to the ground, the countryside was devastated, and the Jews were scattered throughout the Roman Empire. Then, about AD 500, the Arabs took over the land, and we do not know what they did to all the existing shrines. But one thing is certain: the makeshift pillar of stones that Jacob erected in one day on Rachel’s grave did not survive for four thousand years.
What we presently have as Rachel’s grave there in the land of Israel is an artifact, and it was concocted by someone who wanted to make money from tourists. The same can be said of all the other artifacts that presently draw so many tourists. God does not preserve artifacts, because God knows that mankind would begin to worship these artifacts instead of God. But God does not lie. When God said that this memorial remains “unto this day,” it truly remains unto this day, regardless what happened to the heap of stones that Jacob made on Rachel’s grave. We need to remember that God does preserve principles, which He laid down in the Bible. And thus, instead of looking for a heap of stones, we need to search for the principle of this memorial.
Historically Jacob and his family and all his flocks and herds traveled from Shechem to Bethel. There in Bethel they stayed for some unknown period of time. Then they traveled from Bethel to Hebron, where Jacob’s blind father, Isaac, was living. But on the way, when they were still a short distance from Bethlehem, Benjamin was born and Rachel died. Why did they go to Bethel first? And why did they not stay in Bethel until Rachel had given birth? What business did Jacob have at Bethel? To find the answers to these questions, we need a little background on the place called Bethel. Please turn to Genesis chapter 28.
Š On the Way to Bethel (Ge 28:16–22, 33:18–20, 35:1–2; Ex 32:2; Pr 21:1)
When Jacob fled from his brother Esau after he had stolen the birthright, he was on the way to a far country, where he was going to buy himself a wife. Jacob spent the night on an open place, using some stones for a pillow, and he dreamed that a ladder was set up from where he was, reaching into heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending upon that ladder. That ladder represents the Lord Jesus Christ, for there is no other mediator that can give us a way into heaven.
Then God spoke to Jacob in that dream, and God repeated the promises He had given earlier to Jacob’s father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham. Now let’s pick up the story in Genesis 28:16–22:
Gen 28:16–22, And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.
And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful [How fearful] is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.
And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
This passage describes another memorial. Jacob set up a pillar, and he called that place Bethel, which means “house of God.” And Jacob made a vow unto God. But forty years later, when he returned from Padanaram, Jacob had forgotten his vow. We can see that in Genesis 33:18–20. That is why Jacob dwelled in a land that is called Shechem, where he bought a parcel of a field and built an altar. Jacob really planned to stay there, and he planned to give his daughter Dinah in marriage to the prince of the land, who was also named Shechem. Jacob did not know of the murderous plans his sons had; he did not know that God drove him away from Shechem.
You can see the principle: God’s providence is working through the sins of man. God always accomplishes the counsel of His will. Because of the murders his sons had committed, Jacob had to flee from the land of Shechem, but he did not know where to go. Then God spoke to him in Genesis 35:1: “And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.” Not only had Jacob failed to go to Bethel, but also his household was defiled by idols. And from the words of Genesis 35:2, we see that Jacob was aware of the corrupt practices of his family. We can also see here an illustration of the awful spread of the leprosy of sin. At first the gods of his father-in-law, Laban, were hidden by Rachel, and it seems that no one in the family knew of them. But now Jacob commanded “his household and all that were with him,” including all the slaves, to “put away the strange gods” that were among them.
And then we read in Genesis 35:4 that they gave Jacob not only all their strange gods, but also all their earrings. Why their earrings? Because golden earrings were easily converted to idols. For example, we read in Exodus 32:2 that Aaron made the golden calf from the earrings of the people. Jacob buried all the gold and silver he received under an oak tree in the land of Shechem. Why did Jacob bury it? Jacob did not try to convert these things into something more useful, for Jacob applied the principle that the things of Satan must not be employed in the service of God. And we can see the hand of God in the readiness of his household to obey his request to do away with the strange gods. In fact, the providence of God is evident at every point in this chapter. We can see it in the immediate effect of God’s word to Jacob to go to Bethel, we can see it in the unanimous response of his family, and we can see it in the terror of God that fell upon the cities around them so that they did not try to avenge themselves upon Jacob and his company.
And so we see here, illustrated, the sovereign control that God exercises upon men, even upon those who are not His people. Not a hand can be raised against the Lord’s people without His direct permission. This agrees with the word of God in Proverbs 21:1: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” This power of God applies to heathen kings as well as to those who are the real kings in God’s sight, for He has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father (from Revelation 1:6). “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Prov 21:1). Jacob then went to the city of Luz.
#2. From Luz to Bethel (Gen 35:6,8-9, 24:59, Heb 11:29-30, Rom 10:17, Eph 2:12, Eph 1,2)
Jacob came to the place where he had the dream. That place was near the city called Luz. Luz means “departure.” Jacob had departed from God, because during the forty years that Jacob dwelled in Padanaram Jacob had not built an altar to the Lord His God. And only later did he return to God, to the “house of God” called Bethel, to the altar of his God. And in order to do this, Jacob had to retrace his steps and return to the place from which he had departed. And so it has to be with us. In our process of repentance, we too must retrace our steps and start over at the point from where we lost our first love. Can we remember the days when we were enthusiastic about our newfound faith? Can we remember the days when we professed our faith and were full of fire unto the Lord? Can we remember that we were continuing our fellowship with the saints in the Sunday afternoon Bible study here at the church? Can we remember that we bought a concordance with the intent to use it in our personal Bible studies?
Where are those days? Have we lost our first love? This means we must go from Luz to Bethel, from the point of departure back to the House of God. We must retrace our steps and renew our commitment to the Lord, for salvation is not a waning experience but a growing experience. And if we do not grow, then is it possible we have never been saved to begin with?
Let us continue with the story of Jacob in Genesis chapter 35. There at Bethel we read, “Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse died.” Deborah was Jacob’s mother’s nurse. The only reference we have is that Rebekah’s nurse traveled with Rebekah many years earlier when Rebekah left her father’s house to be married to Isaac, as we can read in Genesis 24:59. Rebekah had died long ago, and somehow Deborah became attached to Jacob’s household. Then Deborah died at a very old age, and the oak under which she was buried was called Allonbachuth, which means “the oak of weeping.” She was Jacob’s link to his old unregenerate life, but she died and was buried at Bethel, the house of God, and immediately God appeared to Jacob again. These two verses, Genesis 35:8–9, are inseparably connected. The departure and the return of Jacob are linked together by the mention of Deborah and her death. Then God appeared unto Jacob again when he came out of Padanaram.
God had appeared to Jacob just before he entered Padanaram, and God appeared again after he came out of Padanaram. All the forty years spent with his father-in-law were wasted time, for Jacob did not live by faith during those forty years. We find another illustration of this same sad principle in Hebrews 11:29–30, where we read, “By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land,” and the next thing we read is, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down.” The intermediate forty-year period of wandering in the wilderness is passed over. Nothing of faith was found in that period of Israel’s history, and they died in the wilderness in unbelief. Those forty years were wasted time. That was tragic for those who died in unbelief.
I spend the first 40 years of my life not knowing the God of the Bible, because the Roman Catholic clergy withheld from me the truth of the Gospel unto salvation. They withheld the Bible from me. They completely ignored the principle by which God saves, as stated in Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Therefore I was living in unbelief like the heathen until I heard and believed the Gospel from the Word of God. That was a very wicked deed of the Roman Catholic clergy. If I had died during that period of time my destiny would have been hell, because I would have died “without Christ, being an alien from the commonwealth if Israel, and a stranger from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. (Eph 2:12) So make sure that you know where you stand. Make sure you know the Gospel, the good news that Christ suffered and died to forgive us our sins, and make sure you know for whom He died and why. But God had mercy on me, and God made me see and believe Ephesians chapters 1 and 2. And God had mercy on Jacob, and thus God appeared to Jacob again at Bethel.
Š God’s Appearance to Jacob (Ge 35:10–12, Gal 3:16,29, 4:25, 6:16)
Let us read carefully the words God left us as a heritage in Genesis 35:11–12:
Gen 35:11–12, And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations [lit: a congregation of nations] shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;
And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.
Literally, “a company of nations” should have been translated “a congregation of nations.” In other words, this referred not to just two or three nations, but to a multitude of nations, and they all are brought in as a single congregation. How can this be if we recognize only the nations of Judah and Israel? Even if we count the remnant that came out of Babylon as a separate nation, and if we count the nation that presently occupies the land there east of the Mediterranean as a separate nation, we would still not be able to explain this prophecy in a literal and historical way.
What, then, is the solution? The solution is found in the next verse, where God repeats the promise He gave to Abraham and his seed: “To thy Seed after thee will I give the land.” But did God refer to the physical descendants of Abraham? No! Please turn to Galatians 3:16. We must remain faithful to God’s reference to Abraham and his seed in the New Testament. We find a great deal of information about the seed of Abraham and about the Israel of God in the New Testament, in the epistles of Paul, and most of it is not very complimentary to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
For example, we read in Galatians 4:25 about the present-day Jewish state in Jerusalem, and there we read that “Jerusalem which now is, is in bondage with her children.” In plain English, this means that most of the present-day unbelieving Jews are still on the way to hell. And here in Galatians 3:16 we read, “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy Seed, which is Christ.”
In other words, the promise of the land is made not to the physical descendants of Abraham, but to Christ, who is a descendant of Abraham and is thus called the Seed of Abraham. Consequently the promise is also to all those who are in Christ. And thus we read in Galatians 3:29, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
These were the promises made to Abraham and to his Seed way back in Genesis chapters 12–18 and 22. In all these chapters we need to change the word “seed” with a small s to “Seed” with a capital S. We are thereby not changing the Bible, for in the original manuscripts all the text was written in one case, either all in lower case or all in capitals. The choice of using capitals or not was totally in the hands of the translators. What was the purpose of inserting capitals? The purpose was to remind the reader that a capital was indicating the presence of deity. And thus a small s for the word seed is pointing to natural descendants, whereas a Seed with capital S is pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The promises were made to those who have been saved by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, which means these promises are for those who are called the remnant chosen by grace out of all nations, kindred, people, and tongues. Out of all those nations, including the nation of physical Jews, there is only a remnant chosen by grace. And since the Lord Jesus Christ is called Israel in the Bible, this remnant chosen by grace is also called Israel, the Israel of God.
Please turn again to Genesis 35:10. Here God emphasizes to Jacob that his name is no longer Jacob, but Israel. We read, “And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.” And so the only way in which a multitude of nations can be the descendants of Israel, according to verse 11, is if Israel refers to Christ, and all those who belong to Christ are called the Israel of God, according to Galatians 6:16.
Š Another Memorial (Ge 35:14–20, Col 3:5)
“And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon” (Ge 35:14-20).
That Jacob was now fully restored to communion with God can be seen from the fact that he once more set up a pillar in the place where he had talked with God, and he poured oil on this pillar of stone. What does this pillar signify? A memorial! And of what is it a memorial? It is a transition from Luz to Bethel. It is a departure from the old life and a return to a strengthened relationship with God in the house of God. It does not mean that Jacob lost his salvation while he was at Padanaram for forty years, but it means that God has drawn Jacob closer to Himself. “And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel” (Ge 35:15). That is the meaning of this memorial: The house of God.
Next we read in Genesis 35:16, “And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath.” Ephrath is Bethlehem, and Bethlehem means “house of bread.” Spiritually, “house of bread” refers to the Bible. And spiritually, what we find in the House of Bread is Christ, who is the Bread of Life. Verse 16 tells us that it was only a short distance from Bethel to Bethlehem. The spiritual meaning of this verse is that it is only a short distance from the place where the soul is restored to communion with God to the place where the soul is nourished and fed with the Bread of Life. Rachel died, and she was buried along the way to Bethlehem. And thus the leading link of Jacob’s life at Padanaram was cut off.
Rachel was the primary reason Jacob went to Padanaram, and she was the reason he stayed there for forty years. The strange gods that Rachel had brought from Padanaram were now buried under an oak. Deborah, who represented Jacob’s link to his old unregenerate life, had also been buried under an oak. And now Rachel was buried. Death was written with large letters across this scene. We, too, must have the sentence of death written on our members, for we read in Colossians 3:5, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
To mortify our members is painful, but it must occur. If we want to walk in full communion with God and dwell in the House of Bread, it is necessary that we depart from our old life (Luz) and be renewed in the house of God (Bethel). It was painful for Jacob to bury His beloved wife, but the pillar he set up on Rachel’s grave bears the same meaning as the pillar he set up in Genesis 35:14. It is a memorial to the departure from our previous life and a renewed commitment to a life dedicated to the Lord. It is the process of sanctification by the power and the revelation of God.
I am sure that Jacob did not think all this out when he buried Rachel and set up a pillar upon her grave. But we can see that God orchestrated this entire scene, and this entire chapter, to give us a picture of the process of our sanctification. And it is in this sense that we must understand why this entire scenario unfolded the way it did, because God designed it to be a spiritual picture. And is it not wonderful that from the dying Rachel there came forth Benjamin, the son of the right hand.
#3. The Call of Jacob and the Call of Israel (Eph 2:3, Eze 36:27, Ge 35:10, Ro 9:6, Isa 9:6, Phil 1:6, 1Sam 2:8)
Jacob left Bethel, the house of God, to go to the land of his exile, Padanaram. Likewise we, the Israel of God, left the house of God when Adam sinned, and we dwelled in our house of bondage, Egypt. “We all were by nature children of wrath, even as others” (Ephesians 2:3).
Just as God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel,” even so has He called us, the Israel of God, to go up to Bethel, the house of God.
The immediate effect of God’s call upon Jacob was to purge his house from idolatry and to change their garments, which represents a change of their ways. What does it mean that they changed their garments? Our garments are symbols of our righteousness. To have Christ’s righteousness means that we are right with God. This is a property that we can only receive by grace. Only by the grace of God are all our sins removed through Christ’s atonement on the cross for us. And this righteousness of God is symbolized by a robe that He gives us (see Isaiah 61:10; 64:6). And thus we are not made inherently righteous, but our sins are covered by this robe, for atonement means “covering.” The effect of God’s call upon us, the Israel of God, is that God will make us change our ways. God says in Ezekiel 36:27, “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
Just as Jacob acknowledged that God answered him in the day of his distress, so the Israel of God acknowledges that God responds to our cry for deliverance when we are in a tight spot.
Just as the terror of God fell upon the Shechemites and they refrained from pursuing Jacob, even so God keeps our enemies at bay, for He protects us and guides us even before we were saved.
Just as Jacob returned to Bethel and built an altar there, so will we, the Israel of God, build a memorial for Him in our home and make our children bow down and worship the God of the Bible. This should not be taken to mean that we will build a physical altar in our home; we should understand this in the spiritual sense.
Just as the link with Jacob’s past was cut by the death of Deborah, so will we, the Israel of God, die to our past life.
Just as God appeared to Jacob “again,” so will He appear to us again in the Word of God.
Just as God said to Jacob, “Thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name” (Gen 35:10), even so does God call us Israel when He says in Romans 9:6, “They are not all Israel which are of Israel.”
Just as God for the first time revealed unto Jacob His name “Almighty,” so the Lord Jesus Christ revealed Himself to us as the wonderful counselor, the mighty God (Isaiah 9:6).
Just as prosperity was promised to Jacob, so shall spiritual prosperity continue to increase in anyone who belongs to God’s Israel. God promised it in Philippians 1:6.
Just as Jacob poured oil on the pillar he erected at Bethel, so God will pour the Holy Spirit upon all who are the Israel of God. And it is the Spirit that gives us understanding.
Just as Jacob found Bethel to be but a little way from Bethlehem, so shall we, the Israel of God, find the Bread of Life soon after we have arrived at the house of Bread, our Bethlehem.
Just as Benjamin took his place in Jacob’s household, so shall the Son of the Father’s right hand, Christ, be among us when we come into His kingdom in the life hereafter.
Rachel called her second son “Benoni.” Benoni means “son of my sorrows.” Benjamin means “son of my right hand.” What a glorious name! The tribe of Benjamin was the source of much grief to Israel. But they remained a part of Israel, which means that God will never leave us nor forsake us.
How does this chapter tie into Revelation chapter 7? When we have joined the great multitude in heaven and we join in singing this heavenly song that we read about in Revelation 7:10–12, the main message in our song is that our salvation is not of works, but it is by grace alone. And this is really the message of the pillar on Rachel’s grave, for this tells us that God drew us closer and more firmly to Christ. It is He who did this, by His providence and grace. The deaths that He sowed were to our benefit.
God chose the word “pillar” because this was a momentous event in the life of Jacob. Remember 1 Samuel 2:8, where God also used the word “pillar”? That verse states, “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne (Note: a singular throne) of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them.”
We are those pillars, and we will inherit the throne of glory. How glorious is this view of the saints, God’s elect. How can anyone reject this principle of the elect of God, a principle from God’s own mouth, and trade this in for a much less honorable view of mankind? But this is what the majority of mankind has done in these last days. They have rejected the God of grace and have replaced Him with an impotent god who is more like them, a god who is the servant of mankind rather than the sovereign God who is the ruler of all the universe. And they have rejected the wickedness of man and have replaced this view with the basic goodness of man. This is the sin of mankind in the last days: they have elevated the sovereignty of man and they have downgraded the God who made them. In other words, they have rejected the Gospel of grace and they have adopted in its place a gospel of salvation by their own free will. Let us be careful not to fall in this Satanic trap.