Jacob's fifth son, second by Bilhah, Rachel's maid, Rachel said, "with wrestlings of God (i.e. earnest prayer) I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed."
Naphtali shows his father, Jacob/Israel, the bloodied coat of Joseph.
He was one of the 5 brethren whom Joseph chose to represent the family of Jacob in the presence of Pharaoh.
Joseph introducing his father to Pharoah.
He had 4 sons when the family moved to Egypt, Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. He is said to have been 132 years old at his death.
At the census of Sinai, Naphtali's tribe numbered 53,400 able for war (Numbers 1:43). At the borders of Canaan, before crossing into the Promised Land, the tribe of Naphtali had fallen to 45,400 (Numbers 26:48-50). Naphtali had its portion between the coastland strip of Asher and the upper Jordan. Naphtali had the well watered district about Banias and the springs of the Jordan, the whole W. coast of the sea of Galilee, "an earthly paradise", and lake Merom. The district is still called Belad Besharah, "land of good tidings." The climate of the lower levels is hot and suited for tropical plants, so that fruits ripen earlier than elsewhere. The soil is rich, full of trees. The population of this once thickly peopled, flourishing region, is as scanty as its natural vegetation is luxuriant. Its forests and ever varying scenery are among the finest in Palestine.
In the division of the kingdom, Naphtali belonged to the kingdom of Israel
The largest town in Mt. Naphtali was Safed, on the heights due North of the Sea of Galilee, often spoken of as the “city set on a hill.”
It is built in the form of a horseshoe, open to the North, round the Castle Hill, on which are the ruins of the old fortress of the Templars. This is a position of great strength, which could hardly fail to be occupied in ancient times, although, so far, it cannot be identified with any ancient city. It contains between 20,000 and 30,000 inhabitants. Over against it to the Northwest, beyond the deep gorge of Wady Leimun, rises Jebel Jermuk, the highest mountain in Palestine proper (circa 4,000 feet). The inhabitants of Safed were massacred by Sultan Babars in 1266. The city suffered severely from earthquake in 1759 and 1837. It is one of the holy cities of the Jews.
"Naphtali is a hind let loose, he giveth goodly words." Naphtali first told Jacob Joseph was alive. "Naphtali is a swift messenger, like a hind that runneth on the mountains, bringing good tidings." (Targum Yonatan, Bereishit 49:21). He honored his father exeedingly. His father would dispatch him wherever he wished, and he was quick to fulfill his mission so that [his father] was pleased with him. Moreover, Naphtali's speech was pleasant to [his father], and therefore his father blessed him (Bamidbar Rabbah 14:11).
He went as a messenger anywhere the Tribes wished, and he would carry out their missions immediately (Midrash HaGadol, Bereishit 49:21).
At Deborah's call, Barak, with 10,000 men of Naphtali, fought and delivered Israel from Jabin of Canaan. Barak’s war-like energy and their joint song speak of the prowess and the eloquence of Naphtali (Judges 4-5); Naphtali and Zebulun "jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field". They helped Gideon against Midia (Judges 6-7). The country never lacked multitudes of men of courage ready to give a good account of themselves on all occasions of war. Its history, as far as we know it, afforded ample opportunity for the development of warlike qualities. To David's forces at Hebron, Naphtali contributed a thousand captains “and with them with shield and spear thirty and seven thousand” (1 Chronicles 12:34).
Naphtali failed to drive out the Canaanites (Judges 1:33). Pagan neighbours soon made it and northern Israel the "Galilee of the Gentiles." The people of Naphtali were among the "Lost Ten Tribes of Israel" who were conquered and taken away into exile by the Assyrians. Tiglath Pileser swept Naphtali’s people to Assyria; Benhadad of Syria had previously smitten all Naphtali (1 Kings 15:20, 29).
2 Kings 15:29, 17:22-23 RSV"In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, came and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried the people captive to Assyria ... The people of Israel walked in all the sins which Jeroboam did; they did not depart from them, until The Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had spoken by all His servants the Prophets. So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day"
But where the darkness was greatest and the captivity first came, the gospel light first shone, as foretold of Zebulun and Naphtali in Isaac 9:1-2 and Matthew 4:15. In the land of Naphtali Jesus spent a great part of his public life, the land of Gennesaret, Bethsaida, Capernaum and Chorazin all lying within its boundaries.
Naphtali shall have its 12,000 elect ones sealed in Revelations 7:6 and its allotment in restored Israel (Ezekial 48: 3-4, 34).
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth. They were holding back the four winds of the earth to keep them from blowing on the land, the sea, or any tree.
I saw another angel coming from the east with the seal of the living God. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been allowed to harm the land and sea,
"Don't harm the land, the sea, or the trees until we have put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."
I heard how many were sealed: 144,000. Those who were sealed were from every tribe of the people of Israel:
12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed, 12,000 from the tribe of Reuben, 12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
12,000 from the tribe of Asher, 12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali, 12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
12,000 from the tribe of Simeon, 12,000 from the tribe of Levi, 12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun, 12,000 from the tribe of Joseph, 12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.
After these things I saw a large crowd from every nation, tribe, people, and language. No one was able to count how many people there were. They were standing in front of the throne and the lamb. They were wearing white robes, holding palm branches in their hands, and crying out in a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the lamb!"
All the angels stood around the throne with the leaders and the four living creatures. They bowed in front of the throne with their faces touching the ground, worshiped God, and said, "Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength be to our God forever and ever! Amen!"
One of the leaders asked me, "Who are these people wearing white robes, and where did they come from?"
I answered him, "Sir, you know." Then he told me, "These are the people who are coming out of the terrible suffering. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.
That is why they are in front of the throne of God. They serve him day and night in his temple. The one who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
They will never be hungry or thirsty again. Neither the sun nor any burning heat will ever overcome them.
The lamb in the center near the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs filled with the water of life, and God will wipe every tear from their eyes."
After the opening the 6th of 7 seals the 4 angels hold back the winds. Satan is called the prince of the power of the air. These destructive winds are held back until God's people are protected, first the believing Jews and then the believing Gentile martyrs during the Great Tribulation including, also, retrospectively, all the tribulation which believers of all ages have had to pass through. They are clothed in white robes that have been washed in the blood of Christ. No other blood cleanses us but the righteous blood of Christ.
We are made righteous because of the blood of Christ, His work on the cross. Under the ancient Jewish ritual, various things in the Temple were cleansed from ceremonial defilement by the sprinkling of blood (from the sacrifice of perfect lambs or bullocks) on them - the blood of sacrifice. In accordance with that usage, the blood of the Lamb - of the Lord Jesus - is said to cleanse and purify.
The Bible says believers are sealed with Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13-14 You, too, have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed in him you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of God's own possession, to his praise and glory.
This mark is the witness of the Holy Ghost, printed in the hearts of believers. He impressed His deity upon us. We are made in His image and, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we become His Children and are filled with His Holy Spirit. We are written down in the Lamb's Book of Life. His Presence, His Divinity, His Deity lives in us as His children.
"Not because of who I am, but because of what He's done, Not because of what I've done, but because of who You are" - Casting Crowns
Christ set a mark upon these martyrs, as was upon the houses of the Israelites, when the death angel passed through Egypt, and destroyed all the firstborn during the first Passover. All firstborn died that night except those who had sacrificed the lamb and applied his blood to the entrance of their homes in obedience to God's command. Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed for us and His Blood is applied to our hearts to protect us from eternal death.
God prepares them beforehand. Notice the seal is upon the forehead where the individual cannot see it without looking into the mirror of God's Word. Others can see it. God knows who His Elect. He protects them until the wrath is past. They are set apart for mercy and safety.
The tribulation to which the martyrs were exposed under the fifth seal, is the same which Jesus foretells. The tribulation that precedes His coming:
Matthew 24:20-22 But pray that your flight is not in the winter, nor on the sabbath day; for then shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect's sake, those days shall be shortened.
Daniel 12:1-2 And at that time (Chief Angel Prince, Archangel, Heavenly Patron & Champion of Israel) Michael shall stand up, the great ruler who stands for the sons of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation; until that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
They are seen taken out of the earth before the judgments on the Antichrist apostasy (those who fall away due to the Antichrist). With their Lord, they, and all His faithful witnesses and disciples of past ages, wait for His coming and their coming to be glorified and reign together with Him. Meanwhile, in contrast with their previous sufferings, they are exempt from the hunger, thirst, and scorching heats of life on earth and are fed and refreshed by the Lamb of God Himself.
Naphtali will have 12,000 believers who represent that tribe of the 144,000 saved from the Great Tribulation.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Twelve Tribes of Israel - Naphtali
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