The Twelve Tribes of Israel

(Chapter 5)

Reuben

 

In the time of the patriarchs when God spoke to the fathers He came to Abram in the Err of the Chaldees, and spoke this to him. Gen 12:1-3 (KJV),

"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

Abram obeyed God and immediately rose up and left his kindred. God begin to put Abram through a process that would bring Abram into a mature understand of his God and would also prepare him for fatherhood. Abram learned a very hard lesson that his great grandson Reuben would also have to learn. Spiritual fatherhood is something that only be obtained in God's timing by the leading of the Spirit of God. Only God can bring you into Fatherhood. No effort nor desire on our part can bring us into spiritual fatherhood.

However, God predestined us to be brought into this place. Romans 8:29-30,

"For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified."

Can you now see that He is going to do this and He doesn't need our help. Abram through the advice of his wife entered into fatherhood by trying to accomplish the promise that God had given him through his own strength. This resulted in Ishmael being born who brought much heartache not only for Abram but for the whole world even to this day.

Abram entered into fatherhood through his own strength and effort. God did not accept Abram's effort and neither will He accept our effort to accomplish His will. Jesus paid the price for our salvation and we must stop trying to pay for something that has already been paid for. Because we don't believe this it has caused us to establish a gospel of our own. This is a slap in the face of our Lord.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old and he and his wife Sarai were beyond the age of having children, the LORD appeared to him and said, (Gen 17:1-8)

"I am God Almighty ; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers." Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.

I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God."

God closed Sarai's womb until she was too old to have children and until He gave Abram and Sarai a new name. He changed Abram's name to Abraham which means 'a father of many nations. He changed Sarai's name to Sarah which means 'lady, princess, queen.'

This time Abraham entered into fatherhood not be his own strength and effort but by God's promise. Abraham become a father not only the natural sense but even more importantly he became a father to all those who choose to trust and believe in God for all things. Thus Abraham became a father to all of us who have faith in the Lord. Abraham is a foreshadow of our Heavenly Father.

Abraham called his son 'Isaac' which means 'laughter'. Isaac was born the son of promise and he foreshadows our Lord Jesus Christ who was born The Son of Promise.

Isaac was given a wife Rebekah who was chosen by the Spirit of the Lord. They had twin boys Esau and Jacob. Although Esau was the firstborn God chose Jacob to receive the birthright. As with his grandfather, Jacob was put through a process designed to bring him into maturity and fatherhood. His name was changed from Jacob which means surplanter, deceiver, to Israel which means 'he rules with God.'

Jacob had six sons and one daughter by his first wife Leah who was given to him by Laban because she was his firstborn daughter. However, Jacob love Rachel and worked fourteen years for her. Rachel's womb was closed by the Lord and Leah's womb was opened and bore Jacob several sons. Rachel become very upset and jealous of her sister Leah gave Jacob her maid Bilhah to marry so she could have children through her. Bilhah had two sons named Dan and Naphtali. When Leah stopped having children she gave Jacob her maid Zilpah to marry and she had two sons named Gad and Asher.

In all, Jacob had ten sons and one daughter before the Lord change his name and nature. After this happened the Lord opened Rachel's womb and she gave Israel two sons named Joseph and Benjamin. These twelve sons become the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

Much can be said of the promises given to the sons of Jacob but I want to concentrate on the spiritual side of the promises given to the Twelve Tribes. I would like to give you some basic information concerning the Twelve Tribes and hopefully you will be able to discern what particular tribe you belong to. You will discover that all of the traits of each of these tribes will at sometime be manifest in your life. But there will be one of the tribes traits that will be dominate in your life. There will also be one that will be subdominant in your life. This knowledge will help you to understand what the Lord has in mind to manifest in your life and ministry.

In all of these tribes except Joseph and Benjamin there are both positive traits and negative traits that must be brought into the subjection of God. May I suggest that you also read and study The Twelve Gates of The Holy City. Each one of the Gates in this Holy City written upon each of them one of the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. In that study we found that in our spiritual growth we must go through each of these gates which are twelve experiences which bring us into maturity and make us clear as crystal.

The twelve personalities represent all of mankind and each of us are a combination of two or more of these spiritual personalities. And as I said before, we have a dominate and a subdominant personality trait. (See Tim LaHaye's 'Spirit Controlled Temperament').

Knowing what tribe you are from will help you understand why you act and react the way you do. You will never be able to change your personality! Only the Holy Spirit manifesting the life of Jesus through us can accentuate the positive traits of our personalities and eliminate the negative ones. Only he can bring out the beauty of His unique creation in each of us.

Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob and was therefore entitled to receive the double portion of his father's inheritance. He would also receive the headship of his father's family and until the priesthood was given to the tribe of Levi he would be the priest of the family. Reuben, however, made a mistake by defiling his fathers wife, Bilhah, and lost his birthright to Joseph. When this happened the sons of Reuben also lost their blessing of being the dominate tribe of Israel.

Reuben's position was unique because not only was he the first born of Jacob, he was in the position to be a shadow of the firstborn of God, Jesus Christ. No matter what your opinion of Reuben is because of what he did to his father the fact remains that he was still Jacob's firstborn son. The sad thing about this story is that Reuben attempted to enter into fatherhood before his time by his own strength just like his great grandfather Abram did.

There is a spiritual principal to be learned here. Becoming a manifested Son of God is not the ultimate goal the Lord has for you. What? That's Right! The purpose of the Lord bringing us into full sonship is that we might become fathers and give birth to son's and father them. The oneness of God is manifested as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and this becomes a pattern for us in the reverse order. We are born of His Spirit and mature into full sons that we might become fathers. This is why I said that Fatherhood is the ultimate goal that God has for us.

This can be seen foreshadowed in the three great feast of Israel. The Feast of Passover represents our being born of God and receiving forgiveness of sin. The Feast of Pentecost represents our being baptized in His Spirit and learning to minister spiritually. And the Feast of Tabernacles in which we become full sons and enter into fatherhood.

Sonship involves a relationship with the Father. In this relationship we learn to submit to His desires in all things and we learn to be obedient to His instructions. Fatherhood involves procreating and providing for the family and giving wisdom in all family matters and above all else giving abounding love for all who are procreated. God deals with us as sons first and brings us from 60 fold to 100 fold through all phases of sonship in order for us to know our true relationship with Him so He can reveal Himself in us to the world.

Upon becoming mature sons or full grown sons we will begin to manifest the power of fatherhood. As fathers, we will have the ability of speaking and thinking things into existence. Upon using this creative ability we will then make full provisions for all that we bring forth.

In the natural world a baby son has the penitential to be a father but must first mature and grow into that potential. The same is true in the life of a spiritual son. We are all born sons of God but we each must mature into fatherhood by allowing the Holy Spirit to bring us into that maturity through trails and tribulations.

Reubenites beware! You have a tendency to want to skip part of your training as sons and rush into fatherhood ahead of time under your own strength and ability. This is what Reuben did in type. As a result he defiled his father's bed which is his place of rest. This disturbing of the rest and quietness of his father resulted in him loosing his birthright and the blessings that followed.

I want you to notice something very important. He did not loose his right or position as a son because this cannot be lost. Nothing you will ever do will ever stop you from being a child of God. Reuben did, however, cause a delay in his coming into fatherhood and so can you. Reubenites are not alone in these tendency toward rushing into fatherhood ahead of God's timing for us but there are those in all the tribes that do this also. There is a little bit of Reuben in all of us.

This, however, is a real temptation to Reubinites. As fistborn sons they think that they can go even further and claim more than is timely due. Reubenites should be careful not to run ahead of the Spirits leading. If you do, you will loose the blessings of the double portion birthright which is rightfully yours.

In a very real sense Reubenites are all those who are firstfruits. Being among the first to come into revelation of God's will for our generation carries with it the danger of running ahead of God and trying to bring it about by our own power. There are many today who are on the verge of intruding into fatherhood as did Reuben and his great grandfather Abraham.

Paul said in Phil 2:5-7,

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!"

As a son He learned obedience by the things which He suffered and we must also walk the same way that He did in order to be pleasing to our Father. If we will humble ourselves and be willing to bear the suffering that comes in order to learn obedience when the Lord's time comes we will blend into it as naturally as the night blends into the dawn.

In Gen 49:3-4 we read of the prophetic words of the dying Jacob concerning Reuben,

"Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch."

He referred to Reuben as his 'might'. The Hebrew word for 'might' is 'koach' and means ability, force, power, strength and substance and wealth. This is true of Reubenites. They are expression of Israel's abilities, strength and power. They are people of unusual strength of either character, body or spirit. Jacob also said of Reuben that he was the beginning of my strength.

The word 'beginning' is the Hebrew word 'reshith' and means headship, chief and principal. It come from the Hebrew word 'rosh' which mens head. Reuben was the head or chief of Jacob's strength and the Reubenites are marked with their strength of mind, logical reasoning powers, and ability of versatility in thought. It is this very ability of the Reubinites that can get them in a world of trouble because it can be used for either good or bad. Good if controlled by the Holy Spirit and bad if controlled by the flesh. Their strong mindness can be use either negatively or positively. Reubenites need to recognize this and gird up the loins of their minds.

Jacob also said that Reuben was the excellency of dignity and power. The word 'excellency' comes from the Hebrew word 'yether' which means super-abundance. The Reubenites always bear the mark of superabundance and overflowing with whatever they have. Jacob said it was a superabundance of dignity and power. The word 'dignity' comes from the Hebrew word 'seeth' and actually means a lifting up or exaltation.

Reubenites are no mediocre people who are satisfied with a mediocre position. They are always aiming at a high point and reaching it through their superabundance of mental and physical strength. In the natural Reubenites drive themselves into high position by sheer force of strength and will. However, in the spiritual area they gain the superabundance of spiritual height by the Holy Spirit giving them His strength and power.

Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin but he had a lot of Reuben in him. These were the good things said of Reuben and now comes the judgments against him.

Jacob said, "You are unstable as water and you shall not excel." The only reason that Reuben is unstable as water is because he projects himself prematurely into fatherhood. Reubenites are obsessed with power and always want to be in the head position. Upon learning of fatherhood they want to rush into it whether it is God's timing or not. Water is unstable in that it takes on the shape of whatever it is poured into. It has no shape of it's own. Pour water into a tall and slim vessel and it becomes tall and slim. Pour it into a flat wide-mouth vessel and it becomes flat and wide-mouth.

Reubenites because of their high aim and premature intrusions into sacred things fall back and become like water and conform to whatever circumstance they find themselves in. Reubenites need to be encouraged to move with God and not ahead of Him. Aim high but allow the Holy Spirit to take you there. Learn the lesson of sonship well and fatherhood will come in due time and order.

Moses spoke of Reuben and said in Deut 33:6,

"Let Reuben live and not die, nor his men be few."

This meant that Reuben would survive and come into fullness of life. Not just physical life but eternal life which will cause a change in the physical life of Reuben just as it did Jacob. The very fact that Reuben is mentioned among the sealed ones in Rev 7 indicates that a company out of Reuben will be sealed and enter into the fullness of life that defeats death.

It was Reuben who tried to rescue Joseph out of the hand of the rest of his brothers. It was Reuben who was grieved at the news that Joseph was sold as a slave. It was Reuben who was quick to remind his brothers haw they had treated Joseph. Reubenites will attempt to deliver a persecuted one and when that someone fails, they will grieve over his suffering. They are saddened at the way their brothers treat someone who has made a mistake. Reuben has a heart for his brothers even though they have made mistakes.

Reuben's position during the wilderness journey was on the South Side of the tabernacle along with Simeon and Gad.

By this we would know that his location in the figure of a man would be near to both of these tribes. As we will see later Simeon and Levi are in the chest area and due to Reuben's particular transgression we can place him in the area of the loins where the procreative power are located. Also, in this area that is located the means of disposing the waste water of the body.

 

 

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