Gen. 25:26 And after that his brother came forth, and his hand was holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob…
47:7 And Joseph brought in Jacob his father and set him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.
When speaking of the natural constitution, Jacob, in the book of Genesis, is the best representative…. The most outstanding characteristic in the entire life of Jacob is his natural endeavoring and scheming. All those who scheme are inevitably crafty. So also was Jacob. His craftiness was but the superficial expression; his natural constitution was his hidden characteristic. Before Jacob became matured, all his history revealed his natural constitution. He was able, resourceful, full of schemes, and very capable and skillful; he was truly one who was exceedingly strong in the natural constitution.
The afflictions, sufferings, and troubles that beset him were for the breaking of his natural constitution…. When Jacob’s natural constitution was thoroughly broken, his life in God attained to a mature and full stage…. He was no more a supplanter (the meaning of Jacob) but a prince of God (the meaning of Israel). (CWWL, 1953, vol. 3, “The Experience of Life,” pp. 413-415)
God’s breaking is not a matter of being cruel to us but of being gracious to us…. What He tears down is our worthless self. However, what God builds into us is Himself, the peerless and infinite One. The end of the Bible shows the New Jerusalem with the tree of life…. The New Jerusalem is a structure built with pure gold, pearl, and precious stones, all of which refer to God Himself. The New Jerusalem is just God Himself in essence, appearance, nature, and glory.
Jacob’s life shows that a natural person must pass through breaking in order to become Israel, that is, a prince of God. For a person to be filled with God’s element, he must pass through the process of breaking. This is what Jacob represents in the Bible…. His name Jacob means “heel holder, supplanter” (Gen. 25:26). He was a person full of schemes and plots, but he was broken, torn down, and dealt with by God again and again to the point that God changed his name and called him Israel (32:28), meaning “prince of God.”…This means that after passing through God’s breaking, Jacob was filled with the element of God. (CWWL, 1953, vol. 1, “Knowing Life and the Church,” pp. 338, 336)
The record of Jacob’s life… shows us that the purpose of God in His selecting, predestinating, and calling is to transform sinners into royal sons of God who bear God’s image to express Him and exercise God’s dominion to represent Him (cf. Gen. 1:26). God destined Jacob to live a struggling life all his days. Furthermore, God sovereignly arranged every circumstance, situation, and person in Jacob’s life and caused them all to work together for Jacob’s good, so that He could transform Jacob, a supplanter and a heel holder, into Israel, a prince of God…. God’s dealing with Jacob is a full picture of the Holy Spirit’s discipline and His transforming work in the New Testament believers (Rom. 8:28-29; 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18). (Gen. 25:26, footnote 1)
The strongest manifestation of Jacob’s maturity in life is the fact that Jacob blessed everyone, including Pharaoh (Gen. 47:7, 10), Jacob’s two grandsons (ch. 48), and his own twelve sons (49:1-28). Jacob’s supplanting hands became blessing hands (48:14-16). Maturity in life is a matter of being filled with God as life, and blessing is the overflow of life, the overflow of God through the maturity in life. To bless others is to bring them into the presence of God and to bring God into them as grace, love, and fellowship that they may enjoy the Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit (14:18-19; Num. 6:23-27; 2 Cor. 13:14). That Jacob blessed Pharaoh indicates that he was greater than Pharaoh (Heb. 7:7). (Gen. 47:7, footnote 1)
Further Reading: CWWL, 1953, vol. 3, “The Experience of Life,” chs. 11-12; CWWL, 1953, vol. 1, “Knowing Life and the Church,” chs. 19-20; Life-study of Genesis, msg. 67