Before we get into this week’s Torah portion, let us go over some Hebrew translations when it comes to the various names of God. Keep in mind that Hebrew words are spelled from right to left (<---). For those of you who may be sensitive about the name of God, please note that it will appear in this lesson.
Throughout the Bible there are various names for God. Within all of these different names, he only has one proper name and that is יהוה (Yod Hey Vav Hey). Our English Bibles usually translates יהוה as LORD or LORD (all caps). When it is not in all caps (Lord or lord) then it is usually a different word altogether such as when Sarah referred to Abraham in Genesis 18:12, at which point the term “my lord” was אדון (adown). In the theologian world the four Hebrew letters of Yod Hey Vav Hey are commonly known as the tetragrammaton. Although יהוה is often translated as “I Am”, or “I Am that I Am,” it can also mean “I Will Be What I Will Be.” This is His formal name, God is not.
The Hebrew word for God is אֱלֹהִים (elohiym). Elohiym can refer to The All Mighty God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but it can also refer to any super natural being such as, but possibly not limited too; angels, demons, spirits and principalities. The word elohiym is a title, not a name. When God wants to separate Himself from other elohiyms He calls Himself אֵל שַׁדַּי (El Shaddai) as He did in Genesis 35:11, which means God All Mighty. Of course there is only one God All Mighty, He has no equal and no one can compete with Him, but according to the entire Bible, we cannot deny the fact that there are other elohiyms out there, which brings us to this week’s Torah portion.
The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob's hip on the sinew of the thigh. (Genesis 32:22-32)
Prior to the above verse, Jacob was struggling with the idea of running into Esau. He was afraid for his life, the life of his family and all that was with him, Jacob was being tormented by fear and clearly had a lot to wrestle with. In Genesis 32:22-32 we see him wrestling with someone, but the question is who? Many believers throughout the world claim that this was a wrestling match between Jacob and God All Mighty, however, there are four inconsistencies in this scene that contradicts this belief.
Verse 24 reads, “And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.” Nowhere in the entire Bible is God ever referred to as just “a man.” God is not man, He is far beyond man. God is the Creator of the universe and every thing that is created is made by Him including man.
Verse 26 reads, “Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” This was not a concern based on how long this wrestling match was taking. Whoever was wrestling with Jacob did not want to be around when day light came. If you go back to our Torah discussion of B'reisheet, you will recall that the light created in Genesis 1:4 was Yeshua and Yeshua is Good, and the darkness represented all that was evil (according to John 1). Darkness does not want to be a part of the light so Jacob’s opponent must have been a representation of something evil.
Verse 25 reads, “When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.” Whoever it was that Jacob was wrestling with was clearly a poor sport because he caused permanent injuries to Jacob when he realized that he was not going to win. Does this sound like the actions of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?
Verse 29 reads, “Then Jacob asked him, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’” Jacob already knew God because he had met Him back in Genesis 28:10-22 (also see Gen 35:7) on his way to uncle Laban’s house. Also, prior to this event, Jacob recognized God each time they had an encounter. Jacob did not know who this person was that he was wrestling with but he knew that this person was more than human. Knowing who God is, Jacob may have even understood that God is in complete control and that this person was there because God allowed it to be. The fact that this person would not reveal his name is also a contradiction to the character of God.
It is very easy to see why so many people can be mislead, in Genesis 32:22-32, elohiym is translated as “God” with a capital “G” which would indicate that this is in fact God All Mighty. Another reason for the confusion is Jacob’s statement, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” but was El Shaddai the only elohiym that Jacob communicated with?
Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” (Genesis 35:1)
Notice how God distinguishes Himself by telling Jacob to, “go up to Bethel...to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” Also notice how God does not even refer to the wrestling match which lead to Jacob overcoming the world. Based on the entire Bible we know that this is God All Mighty speaking with Jacob, we know this because where Jacob saw the latter is in fact the temple mount, in Jerusalem where God All Mighty has placed His name.
As we continue to examine Genesis 32:22-32, we see that Jacob got the blessing that he was looking for, but this blessing did not officially take place until Gen 35:10 and it was given by God All Mighty Himself. We don’t really know who or what Jacob was wrestling with, it may have been a principality, dark prince of this world or it could have been a demon that was tormenting him, but whoever it was that Jacob was wrestling with, one thing is for sure, that match was what he needed to overcome this world.
We all have someone, or something that we must wrestle with in order to overcome this world, Jacob found his opponent, my prayer is that we all find our individual opponent and overcome just as Jacob did.