THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
Israel Shall Be Your Name
August 24, 2010
For years, I heard and read much about the present Israel that I have been calling modern Israel, but it
all led me down the wrong path of understanding. The problem was with me, not with others, for I
should have searched Scripture on my own rather than being so quick to accept what others said. As I
look back, all I needed was sort of a push in the right direction, which I eventually did receive. Perhaps,
I can give a push to some with this issue and other issues that, Lord willing, will follow.
Two questions need to be asked: What happened to ancient Israel? Where is Israel today?
To begin answering these questions, we must start with Jacob, the son of Isaac and twin brother of
When he came out of the womb, Jacob was holding on to the heel of his older (by seconds) brother. He
was named Jacob , meaning “one who takes by the heel or supplants” (Genesis 25:26). Later, when Esau
lost the dominion blessing from his father because of Jacob’s deception, Esau said: “Is he not rightly
named Jacob, for he has supplanted me these two times? He took away my birthright,
and behold, now he has taken away my blessing” (Genesis 27:36 NASB).
Thus, Jacob means “contender.” Jacob is his natural name and refers to his natural seed. According to
his history, Jacob lived up to his name, and so have some of his descendants, that is, those from his
However, Jacob was later given another name, the name Israel , which was not based on his natural
birth but on a spiritual birth, of sorts. Israel is his spiritual name and refers to his spiritual seed. He was
given this new name after encountering the Lord on two occasions.
The first encounter was when Jacob wrestled with the angel of Lord all night.
(24) Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. (25) When
he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the
socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. (26) Then he said, “Let
me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
(27) So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” (28) He said, “Your
name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men
and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:24-28 NASB)
In this encounter, Jacob named the place Peniel , meaning “the face of God,” for he saw God face to face
and lived (Genesis 32:30). It wasn’t that he prevailed over the angel of the Lord or won the wrestling
match but that, in the end, he submitted to God. This is why the name Israel means “God commands,
orders or rules” (footnote in Bullinger’s The Companion Bible ).
This was a prophetic encounter, for it linked the name Israel with dominion (i.e., rule). Thus, Israel was
given the dominion blessing that was first given to Adam, meaning dominion is associated with
Israel, who knows the rule of God, and not Jacob the supplanter who was ruled by the flesh. As we will
see, this is significant in the prophecies Jacob-Israel spoke over his twelve sons. See issue #04-1090,
August 12, 2010, Prophetic Blessings & Birthright .
The second encounter was when God appeared to Jacob and blessed him.
(9) Then God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed
him. (10) God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; you shall no longer be called Jacob, but
Israel shall be your name.” Thus He called him Israel. (11) God also said to him, “I am
God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come
from you, and kings shall come forth from you. (12) The land which I gave to Abraham
and Isaac, I will give it to you, and I will give the land to your descendants after you.” (13)
Then God went up from him in the place where He had spoken with him. (14) Jacob set
up a pillar in the place where He had spoken with him, a pillar of stone, and he poured
out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. (15) So Jacob named the place where
God had spoken with him, Bethel. (Genesis 35:9-15 NASB)
In this encounter, Jacob was again named Israel , at which time he named the place Bethel , meaning
“the house of God,” for God had spoken to him. Thus, putting Peniel and Bethel together, the name
Israel is associated with seeing the face of God, being alive, hearing His voice, and being in His house.
But there is more, for this blessing was actually the fruitfulness blessing given to Adam: Be fruitful
and multiply . (Genesis 1:28). This speaks of the house of God, for God desires many sons to fill His
house, which is what fruitfulness is all about.
Thus, the name Israel has two very profound meanings that refer back to the blessings given to Adam.
Adam knew God face to face ( Peniel ) and was given dominion over God’s earth, and he was called to be
fruitful by filling God’s house [earth] ( Bethel ) with many sons. Israel had become the beneficiary of
these two blessings that he passed on to two of his sons.
As his life neared its end, Jacob-Israel called his sons together to speak a prophetic word over their
lives. At this point, Israel could have passed on the dominion and fruitfulness blessings to one son, just
as he possessed them, but instead, he gave dominion to his fourth son Judah and fruitfulness to his
eleventh son Joseph. Prophetically speaking, this revealed that God’s Son would have two appearings.
The first would be to take the scepter of Judah and establish His Kingship (dominion). The second
would be to bring many sons unto glory and establish His Kingdom (fruitfulness).
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” (Genesis 49:10 NASB)
“Joseph is a fruitful bough [ ben , meaning “son”] , a fruitful bough [son] by a spring; its
branches run over a wall.” (Genesis 49:22 NASB)
In other words, Judah is a type of Christ in His first coming , and Joseph is a type of Christ in His
second coming .
In regard to Joseph, notice that the Hebrew word for bough is ben , which means “son.” Again, this is
what fruitfulness is about, the bringing of many sons unto glory (Hebrews 2:10). Sonship speaks of the
coming Kingdom of our Lord, for the Kingdom of God must have sons (Matthew 13:38).
But there is more, for prior to Jacob-Israel prophesying over his sons, Joseph had heard that his father
was sick, so he went to see him. As Joseph visited with his father, Israel adopted Joseph’s two sons,
Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born in Egypt: Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine (Genesis
48:5). Then he blessed the lads with his name Israel , the name given to him by the angel.
“The angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and may my name live on
in them, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and may they grow into a
multitude in the midst of the earth.” (Genesis 48:16 NASB)
(1) Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel … his birthright was given to the sons
of Joseph the son of Israel…. (2) Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from
him came the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph…. (1 Chronicles 5:1-2 NASB)
Israel bestowed upon Joseph and his two sons the name Israel and, along with it, the birthright and the
blessing of fruitfulness. Thus, the name Israel became associated with the birthright, that is, the right of
a firstborn son, and fruitfulness, that is, the blessing of bringing forth many sons. Whereas Judah
brought forth the King at Jesus’ first coming, Joseph-Israel will bring forth the Kingdom of our Lord
and of His Christ at Jesus’ second coming. Consequently, it behooves us to understand the significance
of the lost house of Israel, the treasure that continues to be hidden in the field. Soon, the true spiritual
Israel, the spiritual house of God [ Bethel ], whose house we are (Hebrews 3:6; 1 Peter 2:5), will be made
manifest, and we will know and see our King face to face in immortality [ Peniel ].
The Upward Call: #04-10102
by: Stuart H. Pouliot