These Are The Names
“Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.” —Exodus 1:1-7
The subject of the book of Genesis is the story of man’s ruin. Exodus is the story of man’s redemption. The Hebrew title of Exodus is “These are the names.” This accords with the subject of the book, for redemption is an individual matter. Exodus teaches that this redemption can only be affected by blood—the blood of the Lamb; the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Exodus 12:13 says, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” As this was true then, it is true today.
The book opens with Israel as a hopeless slave in the power of the enemy and doomed by him to destruction. It closes with Israel redeemed, enriched, and free. The method of deliverance was the death of the paschal lamb. Exodus, therefore, teaches us that where there is no blood—the blood of Christ—there is no salvation. (1)
These Are The Names
In Exodus 1:2-4, we read the names of the sons of Jacob who would come to Egypt during the time of famine. There is a specific reason that the names of the sons of Jacob are given. In type and shadow, their names portray a great truth regarding salvation. As well, these men are types of Christ, with each son portraying a particular ministry of our Lord to believers. Let’s go through these names and their meanings:
1. Reuben. His name means “see a son.” This represents the child who is born into the world.
2. Simeon. His name means “hearing.” When the child is old enough, he is to hear the gospel.
3. Levi. His name means “joined.” The child is born, hears the gospel and is joined to Christ.
4. Judah. His name means “praise.” The child is born, hears the gospel, is joined to Christ, and begins to praise the Lord.
5. Issachar. His name means “reward.” The son is born, hears the gospel, is joined to Christ, praises the Lord, and the Lord gives the reward of eternal life.
6. Zebulun. His name means “dwelling.” The child is born, hears the gospel, is joined to Christ, praises the Lord, has reward, and now he will dwell with the Lord forever.
7. Dan. His name means “judgment.” Jesus Christ has taken the judgment that we deserved.
8. Naphtali. His name means “wrestled” or “wrestling.” Jesus has wrestled the powers of darkness, all for us, and has defeated the powers of darkness.
9. Gad. His name means “troop” or “good fortune.” Jesus is the “troop” who has fought on our behalf, and brought us “good fortune.”
10. Asher. His name means “happy.” Jesus Christ brings happiness to every believer.
11. Joseph. His name means “added.” Jesus has added all believers into His kingdom.
12. Benjamin. His name means “strong right hand.” Jesus Christ is the Father’s strong right hand, and He sits with Him in heavenly places, where one day soon all the saints will join Him.
As well, the Lord wants you to know that He knows you, too.
He knows your name.
He knows your heart.
He knows your needs.
And He knows your pain and distress.
John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them.” You are not insignificant to Him; He loves you, and He cares about you.
In Deuteronomy 32, we read of the song of Moses, and speaking of Israel it says, “He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye” (Deut. 32:10). This verse proclaims the fact that Israel is ever in the eye of the Lord—the object of His love, tenderness, and care. As the Lord loved and cared for Israel, so does He care for His children today.
In Exodus 1:5 we read, “And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls.” Notice how the Lord specifically noted the exact number—70. He didn’t say “about 70,” but He was specific to the exact number. The reason for this was that the entire plan of God for humanity was wrapped up in these 70 souls. From these 70 souls would eventually grow between 2 to 3 million people in Egypt. From these people would come a mighty nation, a nation that would give to the world the Word of God—the Bible—and become the womb that would bring forth Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Saviour.
Matthew 1:21 says, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
By noting seventy souls—a very small number—the Lord was saying, “Don’t despise the day of small things” (Zech. 4:10). Everything the Lord has done throughout time has started small, but when God is in it, there is always growth.
Exodus 1:6 says, “And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.” The lesson in this verse is simple yet very powerful: Joseph was dead, but God was not dead. People come and go, but God never dies nor does He change. Keep your eyes on the Lord; don’t focus exclusively on preachers. Christ must be the object of your focus.
“And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them” (Ex. 1:7). This is what God can do for any and all who will serve Him, for He is a God of blessing. The text says they were fruitful, which means “to flourish,” or “to grow.” The Lord can make you fruitful in any situation.
The phrase, “They increased abundantly” means “to bring forth in abundance.” John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” In the Greek, the word abundantly means “super abundance.” Everything that the Lord does is in “super abundance.”
They multiplied. The word multiplied means “to grow large; to be made great,” and “more and more.”
They waxed exceeding mighty. The word waxed means “to be powerful; vast; strong; mighty,” and not just mighty but “exceeding mighty.”
This is what the Lord can do for you if your faith is ever in Him and Him crucified, and the resurrection.
These are the names. He knew their names, and He knows your name, and He can do the same for you.
(1) George Williams
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