The Greatest Mystery of All: Part 4; Zebulun, the Spiritual Body; Naphtali, the spiritual mind; and Issachar, the Holy Imagination
We have seen in the previous three segments of this teaching that Zebulun and Naphtali, whose territories were in the land called Galilee where Jesus grew up (Nazareth) and lived (Capernaum) during his time on earth, spiritually signify something regarding Jesus’ return in these end times. He is coming to his true church as a groom coming to his bride to dwell in each person by his manifest presence. He will make himself known to us by awakening parts of us that went to sleep or died at the time of the fall of Adam and Eve. These parts of us that we have seen so far are Zebulun, who signifies our spiritual body, and Naphtali, who signifies our spiritual mind.
As we look on the map at these territories there by the Sea of Galilee, we see another tribal territory connected to them and that is Issachar. He represents another part of us that needs to be activated and that is our holy imagination. He works in conjunction with Zebulun (our spiritual body) and Naphtali (our spiritual mind) to draw us deeper into worship and deeper into relationship with our beloved bridegroom.
Paul states in 2 Corinthians 4:18:
…we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
It is easy to see the temporal things around us and get distracted by them, but to look at what is unseen requires a decision and effort on our part. God gave us an imagination for a good reason, and it seems logical that incorporating that part of our mind would greatly facilitate our ability to look at what is unseen. A relationship with God, the testimonies of other Christians, a Bible and tools such as concordances, lexicons, commentaries, etc. help us grow in our knowledge of God and his Word. As we apply these things in our life, we grow in wisdom. All these things put together give us tools with which to begin to build an imagination that brings us closer to God in love and worship.
At the end of this article is a link to take you to what I have called a “living parabolic narrative” I wrote where I put myself into Mark 1 with Jesus. It is a way to develop a holy imagination by visualizing Scripture and putting yourself into it with the Lord. It is a wonderful, healthy way to focus your mind in a godly way on what is not seen. This passage in Mark is always with me in my mind, and I will never forget the series of events that took place in that passage. When fear grips your mind, you can focus on yourself with God in Scripture and return to it over and over to find peace and stability when life is difficult.
This revelation may be hard to accept for Christians who have been taught it is evil to use our imagination, but we need to understand that the level of maturity in the life of a person to whom Jesus has come in this way would indicate that the imagination would not be used for any evil purpose.
As I stated in the first segment of this teaching, Jacob’s sons in their birth order spiritually signify the progressive maturation of a Christian in the end times who eventually comes into the fullness of Christ. To refresh our minds, I will repeat this here and then summarize it:
- Reuben was the first son. His name means “intelligence.” His mother’s comment over him was “See, a son.” Symbolically, this is showing a person who understands (sees) in their mind (intelligence) that Jesus is the son of God. This is the first step of beginning our journey as a believer.
- The second son’s name, Simeon, means “hearing and obeying.” This is the next step of a believer’s life if he is to move forward in a relationship with God.
- The third son’s name, Levi, means “joining.” As the believer hears and obeys God, he begins joining with him in relationship.
- The fourth son’s name is Judah. He represents our true self. As we join in relationship with God, it is only then we learn our true identity. Only God can tell us who we really are. I have written a book about this entitled Dissociation Revealed and Healed in Scripture based on every verse of Genesis 38.
- The fifth son, Dan, is a type of our conscience.
- The sixth son, Naphtali, represents our spiritual mind.
- The seventh son, Gad, represents overcoming all our trials and tribulations
- The eight son, Asher, whose name means happiness, represents the joy we experience as we listen to our conscience (Dan) so that our spiritual mind can begin to develop (Naphtali) which results in our Overcoming (Gad) in all our trials and tribulations.
- Issachar is symbolic of our holy imagination which will be an important part of our relationship with Jesus as we draw closer to perfection.
- Zebulun is symbolic of our awakened spiritual body.
- Joseph is symbolic of our ruling and reigning with Christ in the end times.
- Benjamin reveals more details of the ministry that will go forth from perfected believers in the end times.
So we can see here that this person whose imagination is being activated by the Lord has achieved a certain level of holiness as one who has been born again (Reuben), hears and obeys God (Simeon), is joining with the Lord in relationship (Levi), understands who he is in Christ such that he can live out of his true self without a false persona (Judah), has developed a sensitive conscience (Dan), has an awakened spiritual mind (Naphtali), has overcome through many trials and tribulations (Gad), and knows the deep joy of a life lived in this level of maturity with Christ (Asher). Issachar is next in the birth order so we see here some things that have been accomplished in his life prior to the activation of this holy imagination.
It should be clear to everyone that someone at this level of holiness has the ability to use his imagination, not for selfish or sinful reasons, but solely as a vehicle to enhance his relationship with Jesus and draw closer to him. The name Issachar means “he shall bring a reward.” He brings us closer to Jesus who is our “exceeding great reward” (Gen 15:1).
With this understanding, let’s look at the evidences in Scripture that lead us to the understanding that Issachar does indeed signify our holy imagination. We will look first at the words Jacob spoke over Issachar as he prophesied over all his sons shortly before his death in Genesis 49. Then we will examine what Moses spoke over him in Deuteronomy 33. Jacob’s prophecy:
Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute. (Gen 49:14, 15)
Issachar is compared to an ass or what we would call today a donkey. Donkeys were a mode of transportation in ancient times. In the natural world a donkey can take a person where he wants to go. In the spiritual world our imagination can take us where we want to go in our mind. When I am longing to be close to Jesus, I can imagine myself being with him and when I do so I feel his presence intensify in my awakened spiritual body.
The imagination is couching down. It doesn’t make itself known unless I decide to use it. We all have an imagination. We all use our imagination. When we are immature we use it to imagine fearful things such as calamities or destructive things that could happen in our life. When we are mature in Christ, we choose to use it (bring it up out of its couched down position) to envision being with Jesus; however, using our imagination in this way needs to be developed as we train it to do what we want and not run wild with fearful speculations. At the level of relationship seen here in the progressive development of a Christian as revealed in Jacob’s sons, the imagination will be trained and used for enhancing worship and relationship with Jesus.
It is between two burdens. In the Hebrew, the word translated “burdens” also means “sheepfolds.” It is between two sheepfolds. Since believers are all sheep of God’s pasture here on earth and those who have passed on into heaven are in the sheepfold of heaven, the imagination lies between the two of them. It connects us with heaven. The only thing that separates us from heaven is our own carnal nature. The imagination helps us overcome this as we shall see in the next sentence.
And he saw that rest was good signifies that he is looking into heaven which is our eternal place of rest. Right now I cannot see into heaven other than to imagine what it looks like. I do this by imagining a beautiful place that I can remember from my own experience on earth or a lovely picture I’ve seen that I have purposed to remember, or I can just make it up in my mind. However I picture heaven doesn’t really matter as it is just a background for where I can imagine myself being with Jesus. When I imagine being with him there, I feel his presence greatly intensified. Sometimes I can feel myself being elevated like going up in a fast elevator or taking off in a jet airplane. The places I have focused on in my imagination have become part of my inner being and I can picture them any time I choose. They are places of great peace and rest, and they have remained with me as an important part of my meditation experience.
And the land that it was pleasant is speaking of our life here on earth—how we view our life and how we feel about ourselves. We need to see ourselves as Jesus sees us, complete and perfect in him. We need to picture Jesus with us in our everyday life. We know by faith that he is with us, but we need to begin picturing him with us as we drive our car, at our workplace, at the beach, in our home or wherever we happen to be. Great fear is gripping the hearts of multitudes of people as the mainstream media continually spews out lies and propaganda that makes people malleable pawns and victims of wicked people who desire to control the world and kill off 90% of the rest of us!
And bowed his shoulder to bear gives even more evidence that this is the imagination because the Hebrew word for “bowed” nata means “to stretch out” which is the most common translation for nata. The imagination stretches out to take us where we need to go in our spiritual mind (Naphtali) and then we feel this in our spiritual body (Zebulun). His shoulder is metaphorically speaking of power and strength as that was the place where burdens were carried—Rebekah’s water pitcher, Hagar’s water bottle, etc.
And became a servant unto tribute is just saying metaphorically that our imagination is our servant. We use it however and whenever we choose. Until we decide to use it, it remains couched down in a low position within us just waiting until we want to stretch out beyond our limited natural understanding and begin to take this power and use it to take us where we want to go in our mind. It can transport the spiritual side of us into a heavenly dimension where we experience the closeness of Jesus in new and powerful way.
The words of blessing spoken by Moses over Issachar in Deuteronomy give further evidence that Issachar indeed metaphorically represents our imagination. Moses linked Issachar with Zebulun when he said:
And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.
We have seen that Zebulun signifies our spiritual body that has lain dormant within humanity ever since death came upon us all at the fall of Adam and Eve. Now it is coming out. It is alive and together with Issachar, our imagination, it is going someplace. It is moving towards a heavenly dimension where we can feel Jesus and receive unspoken messages from him that are clearly understood by our spiritual mind (Naphtali). This is indeed a time to rejoice because there is no better place we would rather be than in the manifest presence of Jesus and we can experience this anytime we want to, and especially when we use our imagination to be with him.
Issachar in thy tents—tents in Scripture often signify worship. This is because in the earliest ages of biblical history, God’s people lived with their families in tents. These were places of worship. Then another tent, the tabernacle, was formed and worship took place there. Later people worshiped in the temple which took the place of the tent of the tabernacle. Jesus spoke of his own body as being a temple. Also our bodies are likened to a temple (1 Cor 3:16).
Putting this together with Zebulun, the truth beneath the surface of Moses’ blessing reveals that the holy imagination (Issachar) is linked with the spiritual body (Zebulun) in worship. In my experience this is very true. When I worship God since this awakening, worship goes beyond mere words to being immersed in the deep love and joy of being in God’s presence. These feelings come when I picture being with Jesus in my mind. There is no doubt that Zebulun, my spiritual body, is closely connected with Issachar, my imagination. Historically they were full brothers in that they had the same mother, Leah, and, of course, Jacob for their father. Being Leah’s fifth and sixth sons, they were also close in their birth order. In their spiritual connection, when I use my imagination (Issachar) to picture myself in relationship with Jesus, I feel his presence in my spiritual body intensify (Zebulun).
They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness. According to the best sources, mountains signify love, the highest mountains celestial love which is the highest love of all. Out of our love for God we make sacrifices that pull us out of time-consuming worldly pleasures in order to spend time with God and his people, and time to study his Word.
For they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand. As we study the Word of God (the seas), we will be like an infant feeding at his mother’s breast because we find the sustenance for our life in the truths of Scripture. This new awakening of the spiritual side of our being creates in us a deep hunger for the Word, and we are drawn to spend more and more time there. In doing so we are fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit as he leads us and teaches us.
Bible study becomes an exciting time because the Holy Spirit leads us to rich treasures hidden beneath the surface of the Word. You are reading some of these treasures now. The story of Jacob and his wives and sons is interesting historically, but when the Holy Spirit reveals to you how they are actually showing you the way into the fullness of Christ, they take on a whole new richness. The history of ancient people who lived thousands of years ago suddenly takes on a current aspect that applies to you personally.
Time spent in the Word is time spent with Jesus, and it changes your life. You feel your roots going down deep into the solid rock Jesus Christ. The storms may blow and the seas surge, but you are so deeply rooted in God nothing can shake your faith because you see that what people believe to be only history is actually a living reality and the source of rich and abundant life. The Bible is more than words printed in ink on paper. When the Holy Spirit is with you and teaching you, it becomes a living, supernatural reality that endues you with power—power to overcome all things and walk in victory, peace and joy.
Living Parabolic Narrative of Mark 1: