IV. THE CONSUMMATION WITH NAPHTALI
Although Asher is wonderful, he is still not the end of Jacob’s poetic prophecy with blessing. After Asher comes Naphtali (49:21). How good it is that Jacob had twelve sons! This number is truly sufficient, even eternally sufficient. When Jacob needed someone to represent sinners, he had Reuben. When he needed someone to expose the evil, cruel disposition, he had Simeon. When he needed someone to express the victory of Christ, he had Judah. He also had Dan to represent apostasy, Gad to signify recovery, and Asher to portray sufficiency. Now we come to Naphtali.
A. Experiencing the Resurrected Christ
and Uttering the Beautiful and Pleasant
Words of Life
Genesis 49:21 says, "Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth beautiful words" (Heb.). In his prophetic blessing Jacob used many animals as figures: a lion, a lioness, a donkey, a foal of a donkey, a serpent, a horned snake, and a hind. Naphtali is neither a lion nor a donkey, but a hind. We thank God both for His creation and for Jacob’s poetry. A hind is a lovely animal, so living and active. Although a hind is not proud or especially large, it is quite strong, able to skip upon the mountaintops. According to the Hebrew text, the title of Psalm 22 speaks of the hind of the morning. Years ago I heard a message by Brother Nee in which he said that the hind of the morning signifies the resurrected Christ. Psalm 22 firstly speaks of Christ’s death on the cross. Then, beginning with verse 22, it proceeds to His resurrection. Psalm 22:22 says, "I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the assembly will I praise thee" (Heb.). This indicates that in His resurrection Christ declared the name of the Father to His brothers and praised Him in the midst of the assembly, the church. Thus, this psalm eventually issues in the resurrection of Christ as the hind of the morning. Resurrection surely is a morning, and Christ in His resurrection is the hind of the morning.
Genesis 49:21 says that as a hind Naphtali gives beautiful words. When I was young, I could not understand the relationship between the hind and the beautiful words. It seemed that these things were absolutely unrelated. But now we can see the significance of this in our spiritual experience. When you experience Christ as the resurrected One, you will be filled and bubbling over with pleasant words. Instead of gossip, out of your innermost being will flow living waters through the words you speak. This means that all your words will be rivers uttered out of the resurrected Christ. In Matthew 28 and Acts 2 we see that the speaking of the pleasant words is intimately related to the resurrected Christ. After Christ was resurrected, He told His disciples to come to Him on a certain mountain, and there He charged them to go forth to speak not with their natural words, but with the resurrected Christ as their words (Matt. 28:16, 18-20). Thus, on the day of Pentecost Peter stood up to speak beautiful words (Acts 2:32-36). Peter’s message that day was a proof that he had been experiencing the resurrected Christ. Because he had been experiencing this resurrected Christ, his teeth were white.
Rich words, pleasant words, beautiful words, words of joy and life—all these come out of the experience of the resurrected Christ. The more we experience Christ as the resurrected One, the more we have something to say. We could never be silent. Everyone who experiences Christ as the resurrected One will be bubbling over with beautiful words. This does not mean that we shall be talkative. No, it means that because we are filled with Christ, we are bubbling over and always have something to say. Christ is the word of God, the word of life, and the word that is spirit. I am filled with this resurrected Christ; thus, I have many words to utter. The principle here is that we always utter what is filling us within. The word we speak comes out of the abundance of our inner being. When our inner being is filled with Christ, we must speak lest we burst. Now we can understand why Naphtali, a hind let loose, gives beautiful words. Because he has experienced Christ, he is filled with beautiful words.
B. Satisfied with God’s Grace
and Full with God’s Blessing
Deuteronomy 33:23 says, "O Naphtali, satisfied with favor, and full with the blessing of the Lord." The favor and blessing here link Naphtali with Asher, who is more blessed than the sons and favored among his brothers. In the Lord’s recovery we are daily satisfied with rich grace and full of God’s blessing. This blessing does not refer to the material blessing, but to the blessing in the spirit, the blessing in life, the blessing in the heavenlies. What grace we have tasted and what blessing we have enjoyed since coming into the church life! We all can testify that in the Lord’s recovery we are satisfied with the rich grace and full of the rich blessing (1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 13:14).
C. Taking the Earth for the Lord
Deuteronomy 33:23 also says of Naphtali, "Possess thou the sea and the south" (Heb.). Naphtali will possess the west, the sea, the Gentile world, and the south, the land, the nation of Israel. This means that Naphtali will take the earth. It is the resurrected Christ experienced by us who will take the earth. At the end of Psalm 22 we see that the resurrected Christ will gain the nations. Psalm 22:27 says, "All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee" (Heb.). All the nations will submit to Him, obey Him, and worship Him. Naphtali, the one who experiences the resurrected Christ, will possess the sea and the land. When we truly experience Christ in resurrection, we become those who will take the earth by preaching Christ (Matt. 28:19; Acts 1:8; Rom. 15:19).
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 103, by Witness Lee)