Jacob Returns Home - Level A Complete lesson with activity choices: act out Jacob and Esau's meeting, make a paper plate mobile of the Lord's face smiling at us, scripted story discussion, coloring picture, and a memory verse. Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6
Jacob Returns Home - Level B Complete lesson with activity choices: act out Jacob and Esau's meeting, make a diorama of their reunion, scripted story discussion, coloring picture, and a memory verse. Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10
Jacob Returns Home - Level C Complete lesson with activity choices: read about the appearance of angels and devils and draw cartoons depicting their spiritual qualities, map activity on Canaan's compass, and a scripted story discussion. Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14
Jacob Returns Home - Level D Complete lesson with activity choices: create ink blot pictures as the start of a discussion about seeing the face of God in other people, read about the appearance of angels and devils and draw cartoons depicting their spiritual qualities, and a scripted story discussion. Sunday School Lesson | Ages 15 - 17
Jacob’s Return Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities. Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10
4402. 'And he called it El Elohe Israel' means that it, that is to say, interior worship, originated in the Divine Spiritual. This is clear from the meaning of 'El Elohe', dealt with below, and from the meaning of 'Israel' as the spiritual, dealt with in 4286, 4292. The things stated so far in this chapter from verse 17 onwards appear there because the subject in the highest sense of the chapter is how the Lord made His Natural Divine. But since things in the highest sense which are concerned with the Lord are beyond the range of ideas present in a person's thought because such things are Divine, let them be illustrated by means of the kind of things that do fall more immediately within the range of a person's ideas. That is to say, let those things that are Divine be illustrated by means of the way in which the Lord regenerates man's natural. Indeed the regeneration of man, that is, of his natural, is also the subject here in the internal sense; for the regeneration of man is a model of the glorification of the Lord, 3138, 3212, 3296, 3490. In fact the Lord glorified Himself, that is, made Himself Divine, according to Divine order, according to which same order He also regenerates man, that is, makes him celestial and spiritual. Here the way in which He makes him spiritual is dealt with, for 'Israel' means that spiritual man.
 The spiritual man is not the interior rational man but the interior natural. The interior rational man is that which is called celestial. How the spiritual man and the celestial differ from each other has often been stated already. A person becomes spiritual through the joining of the truths residing with him to good, that is, through the joining of matters of faith to those of charity, a joining together which takes place within his natural. There exterior truths first are joined to good, and after that interior truths. The joining of exterior truths within the natural has been dealt with in verses 1-16 of this chapter, the joining of interior truths to good in verses 17-end. Interior truths are not joined to good except by means of an enlightenment entering through the internal man into the external. That enlightenment makes Divine truths visible in a purely general way, as when, to use a comparison, countless objects are seen by the eye as an obscure single whole devoid of any distinguishable features. This enlightenment making truths visible in a purely general way was meant by Esau's words to Jacob, 'Let me now place with you some of the people who are with me', and by Jacob's reply, 'Why so? Let me find favour in your eyes', dealt with in 4385, 4386.
 On the point that the spiritual man, compared with the celestial, dwells in obscurity, see 2708, 2715, 2716, 2718, 2831, 2849, 2935, 2937, 3241, 3246, 3833. It is this spiritual man that is represented by 'Israel', 4286. The expression spiritual man is used because the light of heaven, which holds intelligence and wisdom within it, flows into those things with man which belong to the light of the world and causes those which belong to the light of heaven to be represented in those belonging to the light of the world, and in this way causes them to correspond. For regarded in itself the spiritual is the Divine Light itself which comes from the Lord, and therefore consists in intelligence which essentially is truth and as a consequence is wisdom. With the spiritual man however that light falls on things which are matters of faith with him and which he believes to be true, whereas with the celestial man it falls on the good of love. But although these considerations are clear to those who dwell in the light of heaven they are nevertheless obscure to those who dwell in the light of the world, and so to the majority at the present day. They are perhaps so obscure as to be barely intelligible. All the same, since they constitute the subject in the internal sense and are by nature as described, the exposition of them must not be left out. The time will come when people will be enlightened
 The reason why the altar was called El Elohe Israel and why interior worship originating in the Divine Spiritual was meant by it is that in the highest sense El Elohe is identical with the Divine Spiritual; as also is Israel. For 'Israel' means the Lord's Divine Spiritual, and in the representative sense the Lord's spiritual Church, or what amounts to the same, a person like that, see 4286, 4292. In the original language El Elohe means 'God God', and also, to be strictly literal, 'God of gods'. 1
In the Word Jehovah, or the Lord, is referred to in very many places by the singular name 'El', or else 'Eloah', as well as by the plural name 'Elohim'. Both names are sometimes used within the same verse or in the same section. A person who is not acquainted with the internal sense of the Word cannot know the reason why. Anyone may conclude that 'El' implies one thing, 'Eloah' another, and 'Elohim' another, from the consideration that the Word is Divine, that is, has its origin in the Divine, and that it is for that reason inspired as to every word, indeed as to the smallest part of every letter.
 What the name 'El' implies when it is used, or the name 'Elohim', may be seen from what has been shown in various places above, namely that El or Elohim - that is, God - is used when truth is the subject, see 709, 2586, 2769, 2807, 2822, 3921 (end), 4287. This is why in the highest sense El and Elohim mean the Divine Spiritual, this being the same as Divine Truth. The two names differ however in that 'El' means truth in will and action, which is the same as the good of truth, 4337, 4353, 4390. The plural form Elohim exists for the reason that by Divine truth is meant all the truths which come from the Lord. This is also the reason why in the Word angels are sometimes called elohim or gods, 4295, as will be further evident from places in the Word that are quoted below. Now because El and Elohim in the highest sense mean the Lord as regards truth, they also mean Him as regards power; for truth is the entity to which power is attributed. Indeed when exercising power good acts by means of truth, 3091, 4015. Therefore when in the Word reference is made to the power received from truth, the Lord is called El and Elohim, that is, God. Hence also it is that El in the original language means one who is powerful.
 The fact that the names El and Elohim, or God, are used in the Word where the Divine Spiritual is the subject, or what amounts to the same, Divine Truth, and Divine Power received from this, may be seen in addition from the following places,
God spoke to Israel in visions in the night. I am the God of gods (El Elohe) of your father, do not be afraid of going down into Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. Genesis 46:2-3.
Since these words are addressed to Israel, whom He is going 'to make into a great nation', and so the subject is truth and the power this possesses, El Elohe is used, which in the proximate sense means the God of gods. The fact that in the proximate sense Elohim means gods because it has reference to truths and to the power received from them, is also evident in the same author,
There Jacob built an altar, and called the place El Beth El, for there the Elohim were revealed to him, when he was fleeing from before his brother. Genesis 35:7.
And elsewhere in the same author,
Jehovah your God, He is God of gods, and Lord of lords, the God (El) who is great, powerful, and fearful. Deuteronomy 10:17.
Here 'God of gods' is expressed by Elohe Elohim, and after that 'God' by El, to whom greatness and power are attributed
 In David,
A great God (El) is Jehovah, and a great King above all gods (elohim), in whose hand are the deep places 2
of the earth; and the strength 3
of the mountains are His. Psalms 95:3-4.
The name 'God' or El is used here because reference is made to Divine Truth and the Power received from this, and also 'gods' because reference is made to subordinate truths. For in the internal sense 'a king' means truth, 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670. From this it is clear what 'a great King above all gods' implies. 'The deep places of the earth' too means the truths of the Church, which are called 'the strength of the mountains' from power rooted in good. In the same author,
Who in heaven will compare himself to Jehovah? Who will be likened to Jehovah among the sons of gods (elim). God (El) mighty in the secret place of the holy ones, O Jehovah God Zebaoth, who is strong as You are, O Jah? Psalms 89:6-8.
Here 'sons of gods (or of elim)' stands for Divine truths, to which, it is evident, power is attributed, since it is said 'God (El) mighty, Jehovah God of hosts, who is strong as You are?'
 Similarly elsewhere in the same author,
Give to Jehovah, O sons of gods, give to Jehovah glory and strength. Psalms 29:1.
They fell on their faces, and said, O God of gods (El elohe) of the spirits of all flesh. Numbers 16:22.
 The fact that the singular name El or God is used where the power which comes from Divine Truth is the subject, or what amounts to the same, from the Lord's Divine Spiritual, becomes clear from the following places: In Moses,
'Let there be a hand for God' means, let there be power. For 'hand' means power, see 878, 3387, and 'hand' is used in reference to truth, 3091. In David,
I will set His hand in the sea, and His right hand in the rivers. He will cry to Me, You are My Father, My God (El), the Rock of My Salvation. Psalms 89:25-26.
This refers to power from truths. In the same author,
The wicked says in his heart, God (El) has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He never sees. Arise, O Jehovah God (El); lift up Your hand. For what reason does the wicked despise God (Elohim)? Psalms 10:11-13.
Here the meaning is similar.
 In the same author,
Jehovah is my rock (petra) and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God (El), my rock (rupes). Psalms 18:2.
This refers to power. In Isaiah, A residue will return, the residue of Jacob, to the God (El) of power. Isaiah 10:21.
In the same prophet,
To us a Boy is born, to us a Son is given, the government upon His shoulder; He will call His name, Wonderful, Counsellor, God (El), the Powerful One, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6.
In the same prophet,
Behold the God (El) of my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for He is my strength. Isaiah 12:2.
In the same prophet,
I am God (El) even from today; I am He, and nobody delivers from My hand; I work, and who will reverse it? Isaiah 43:12-13.
This refers to power. In Jeremiah, Great and powerful God (El), whose name is Jehovah of hosts. Jeremiah 32:18.
In the second Book of Samuel,
With my God (El) I will leap over the wall. God (El) is perfect in His way; the word of Jehovah is pure. Who is God (El) besides Jehovah? Who is a rock besides our God (Elohim)? God (El) is the strength of my refuge. 2 Samuel 22:30-33.
God (El) is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not act? Or has He spoken, and will He not carry it out? He brought them out of Egypt; He has so to speak the strength of a unicorn. At that time it will be said to Jacob and to Israel, What has God (El) been doing? Numbers 23:19, 22-23.
This in the internal sense refers to power and to truth.
 And in the same author,
God (El) who brought him out of Egypt has as it were the strength of a unicorn. He will consume the nations, his enemies, and will break their bones, and smash their weapons. Numbers 24:8.
'Horns' and 'the strength of a unicorn' mean the power of truth that springs from good, see 2832. And there are many other places besides all these. Since most things in the Word also have a contrary sense, no less do 'god' and 'gods', names which are used when the subject is falsity and power from falsity, as in Ezekiel,
The gods (elim) of the mighty will speak to him in the midst of hell. Ezekiel 32:21.
You inflamed yourselves among the gods (elim) under every green tree. Isaiah 57:5.
Here the name 'gods' is used on account of falsities. Similar examples exist in other places.
1. 'El Elohe Israel may be understood in two different ways - 'God, the God of Israel' or 'Israel's God of gods'. Most English versions of the Bible prefer the first of these (e.g. in Genesis 46:3; Deuteronomy 10:17).
878. 'He put out his hand' means his own power. 'And he took hold of it, and brought it in to himself into the ark' means that self was the source of the good he did and of the truth he thought. This is clear from the meaning of 'the hand' as power. Here therefore his own power from which he acts is meant. Indeed 'putting out his hand and taking hold of the dove and bringing it in to himself' is attaching and attributing to himself the truth meant by the dove. That 'the hand' means power, and also the exercise of power, and resulting self-confidence, is clear from many places in the Word, as in Isaiah,
I will visit upon the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Asshur, for he has said, By the power of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding. Isaiah 10:12-13.
Here 'hand' clearly stands for his own power to which he attributed what he had done, on account of which visitation was made on him.
 Since 'hands' means powers, men's evils and falsities are throughout the Word therefore called 'the works of their hands'. Evils come from the will side of man's proprium, falsities from the understanding side. The fact that this is the source of evils and falsities becomes quite clear from the nature of the human proprium, that it is nothing but evil and falsity. That this is the nature of the proprium see what has been stated already in 39, 41, 141, 150, 154, 210, 215. Because 'the hands' in general means power, the Word therefore frequently attributes hands to Jehovah, or the Lord. And in those contexts 'hands' in the internal sense means omnipotence, as in Isaiah, Jehovah, Your hand has been lifted up. Isaiah 26:11. 'Hand' stands for Divine power. In the same prophet,
Jehovah stretches out 3
His hand, they are all destroyed. Isaiah 31:3.
'Hand' stands for Divine power. In the same prophet,
Over the work of My hands command Me. My hands stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host. Isaiah 45:11-12.
'Hands' stands for Divine power. In the Word regenerate people are often called 'the work of Jehovah's hands'. In the same prophet,
My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand measured out the heavens. Isaiah 48:13.
'Hand' and 'right hand' stand for omnipotence.
 In the same prophet,
Has My hand been shortened, that it cannot redeem? Is there no power in Me to deliver? Isaiah 50:2.
'Hand' and 'power' stand for Divine power. In Jeremiah,
You did bring Your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, and with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm. Jeremiah 32:17, 21.
'Power' in verse 17 and 'hand' in verse 21 stand for Divine power. It is quite often stated that 'they were brought out of Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm': in Ezekiel,
Thus said the Lord Jehovih, On the day I chose Israel and lifted up My hand to the seed of the house of Jacob and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I lifted up My hand to them, to lead them out of the land of Egypt. Ezekiel 20:5-6, 23.
Israel saw the great work 4
which Jehovah did on the Egyptians. Exodus 14:31.
 All these quotations plainly show that 'the hand' means power. Indeed so much was the hand the symbol of power that it also became its representative, as is clear from the miracles performed in Egypt, when Moses was commanded to stretch out his rod or his hand and they were accomplished -
Moses stretched out his hand and there was hail all over Egypt. Exodus 9:22-23.
Moses stretched out his hand and rod over the Sea Suph and it was dried up, and he stretched out his hand and it returned. Exodus 14:11, 27. 5
No mentally normal person can believe that any power resided in Moses' hand or rod. Rather, because the lifting up and stretching out of the hand symbolized Divine power, that action also became its representative in the Jewish Church.
 The same applies to Joshua's stretching out his javelin, described as follows,
Jehovah said, Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand towards Ai, for I will give it into your hand. When Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand, they entered the city and took it. And Joshua did not draw back the hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. Joshua 8:18-19, 26.
This also makes clear the nature of the representatives which comprised the external features of the Jewish Church. Consequently the Word is such that details recorded in its external sense do not give the appearance of being representatives of the Lord and His kingdom, such as the reference in these quotations to Moses or Joshua stretching out his hand, and all other details recorded there. In these it is never evident that such things are being represented as long as the mind is fixed solely on the historical details of the letter. From this it is also evident how far the Jews had receded from a true understanding of the Word and of the religious practices of their Church by focusing the whole of their worship purely on things of an external nature, even to the extent of attributing power to Moses' rod and to Joshua's javelin, when in fact these had no more power in them than a piece of wood. Yet because they did symbolize the Lord's omnipotence, which was at the time understood in heaven, signs and miracles were accomplished when by command they stretched out their hand or rod. Something similar happened when Moses on the hilltop held up his hands. When he did so Joshua was winning, but when he dropped them he was losing. So they held his hands up for him. Exodus 17:9-13.
 It was similar with the laying on of hands when men were being consecrated, as the people did to the Levites, Numbers 8:9-10, 12, and as Moses did to Joshua when the latter was to succeed him, Numbers 27:18, 23 - the purpose being to confer power. And this is why in our own times the ceremonies of ordination and of blessing are accompanied by the laying on of hands. To what extent the hand meant and represented power becomes clear from the following references in the Word to Uzzah and Jeroboam,
Of Uzzah it says that he reached out (his hand) to the Ark of God and took hold of it, and as a consequence died. 2 Samuel 6:6-7.
'The Ark' represented the Lord, and so everything holy and heavenly. 'Uzzah reached out to the Ark' represented man's own power, which is his proprium. And because the proprium is unholy the word 'hand' is left out but nevertheless understood. It is left out to prevent angels perceiving anything so profane as his touching with his hand that which was holy. And because he 'reached out' he died.
 In reference to Jeroboam,
It happened, when he heard the saying of the man of God which he cried out against the altar, that Jeroboam reached out his hand from above the altar saying, Lay hold of him. And his hand which he reached out against him dried up, and he could not draw it back to himself. He said to the man of God, Entreat now the face 6
of Jehovah your God, that my hand may be restored to me. And the man of God entreated the face 6
of Jehovah and his hand was restored to him, and became as it was before. 1 Kings 13:4-6.
Here similarly 'reaching out his hand' means man's own power, or proprium, which is unholy. He was willing to violate what was holy by stretching out his hand against the man of God, as a consequence of which his hand was dried up. Yet because he was an idolater and therefore not able to profane, as stated already, his hand was restored. The fact that 'the hand' means and represents power becomes clear from representatives in the world of spirits. In that world a bare arm sometimes comes into sight possessing so much strength that it can break bones to bits and crush their inner marrow to nothing at all. It consequently strikes so much terror as to cause heart-failure. It really does possess such strength.
1. literally, with the cataracts or the floodgates