(Delivered in Lempala, Finland, at Israel Conference)
Gen. 25:21-34 birth of Esau and Jacob, fathers of two nations; birthright sold by Esau to Jacob; Isaac loved Esau (Edom); Rebecca loved Jacob
27:1,20-22 Isaac’s poor eyesight in his old age; voice of Jacob vs. hands of Esau; Isaac’s carnal love for Esau
27:28-41 the blessings; the deceit of Jacob; the hatred (grudge) of Esau
32:28 Jacob’s name changed to Israel by God, indicating new character (person) and position (status)
33:1-20 unresolved reconciliation between Jacob/Israel and Esau/Edom over the issue of the land
1Cor. 10:11 the Bible and its examples written for us living at the end of the age
Read: Col. 1:19-23 Jesus, in whom dwells the fullness, is our peace
The Bible is very clear that the covenant of God with Abraham (Abram) extended through Isaac and to Jacob and his descendants. Under the Old Covenant, YHVH was in personal relationship with the people of Israel as a nation, excluding the gentile nations. Individually, the Lord has always had His witnesses amongst all peoples. (Eph. 2:12; Amos 3:2; Deut. 4:32-39; Acts 14:17)
Esau and Jacob were born to the same father and mother – in fact were fraternal twins – yet one is the father of Israel and is thought of as “Jewish”, while the other is not in covenant relationship to the LORD, and so is considered not Jewish, but rather, in other words, gentile. (1Cor. 10:32)
From God’s viewpoint, the Land of Canaan was to belong to Israel. The Arabs and other Gentiles have had no sovereign claim to it once God gave it to the children of Israel through the leadership of Joshua. Gentiles, including Arabs – both Ishmaelites and Edomites – could live in the land but not possess it. The LORD conditioned Israel’s possession upon their faith and obedience to Him and His law, which, as we know, they failed to do, as would any other people in the same position as God’s chosen people (Acts 15:10). All blessing to Israel has been ultimately connected to the promised Redeemer and Savior, Jesus Christ, whom God would bring into the world through the Jewish people, but who was to be the same promised Seed of the woman that was to deliver all humanity from the seed of the serpent. God is faithful to His Word even if we are not, and He is presently dealing with the Jewish people (and with all the tribes of Israel which He alone can recognize) back again in the land which He promised and which He refers to still as the Land of Israel, despite peoples’ uncertainty regarding the name, and their rebellion against YHVH and His Anointed. (2Tim. 2:13; Josh. 5:13-15; Ezek. 36–39; Ps. 2; 83; Mt 2:20-21)
Under the New Covenant, which Israel as a nation has not yet accepted or entered into, although it was first (and still) offered to her, God is offering to both Jews/Israelis and Arabs/Palestinians far more than what they each are struggling over now: eternal life with the Lord Himself in the New Heavens and New Earth He will create, rather than a portion of land which is not even all that was promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. When Yeshua returns, He will bring to fulfillment His word and promises regarding the land, its boundaries, and where the different peoples will live during the millenial kingdom. Messiah Yeshua/Christ Jesus will bring righteousness and peace – even to the animals!
So until then, what do Isaac’s prophetic blessings to his sons, and the characters of and relationship between Jacob and Esau have to instruct us as Christians in the Church of God? (Heb. 11:20) Let’s look together at. . .
Gen. 27:28-29,33 blessing to Jacob in disguise. . .and he shall be blessed (much as Balaam had to concede hundreds of years later)
Rom. 9:7-8; Gal. 4:28 Isaac as child of promise (grace vs. works of flesh, custom, or law) a picture of believers and the Church
Gen. 27:39-40 “blessing” to Esau, but without fruitfulness and divine presence and protection
Rom. 9:13; Mal. 1:2-3; Heb. 12:14-17 character of Esau, and God’s attitude and sovereign election
cp. Mt. 10:37 love for Jesus vs. love of family and self
Gen. 27:40 “intifada”: shaking off (uprising), growing restless, gaining dominion (upper hand); the undoing of Jacob’s security and assurance
Much of the Body of Messiah today is similar to Isaac and Rebecca in their attitudes and action towards both the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs: whether as pictured in Isaac or in Rebecca, God’s ways and will are being distorted. Jacob’s hope is not in his father Isaac, who in his rightful annoyance at being deceived – though a consequence of his own paternal carnal love (Praise God for it though!) for Esau – undid Jacob’s confidence by giving to Esau the hope of “getting even”; Jacob’s hope is not in himself nor in Israel the people, nor in Christians and the Church; Jacob’s hope is not in an unresolved “reconciliation” with his brother Esau or the Palestinian Arabs, who at heart hold a murderous grudge against him and developed a bitter root (the seed of Islam) as witnessed in the whole after-history of this long-standing family feud (Ezek. 35:5; Obadiah).
Jacob has no hope – nor do the Arabs – under the terms of the O.T. because of his own and Israel’s unrighteousness. Jacob’s hope – and of the Arabs – is the Hope of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ. God will fulfill His purposes, but in His way and in truth and righteousness. As it is written in Rom. 11:25-32: “From out of Zion shall come the Deliverer, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them – when I take away their sins,” and all Israel shall be saved. (Ezek 36:27)
And again, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD.” And, “. . .They shall look on Me whom they have pierced.” (Ps. 118:25-26; Zech. 12:10)
Jacob’s/Israel’s attitude as God’s chosen people towards Gentiles in general and towards Arabs and Palestinians in particular is similar to that often displayed by Christians and the Church toward Israel and Jews. Both have presumed an unmerited arrogance or wisdom in themselves in a manner contrary to the truth and character of our God as revealed in the Scriptures (Rom. 11:25). God loves all persons, desiring that none should perish but rather receive forgiveness of sins and inherit eternal life (Ezek. 18; John 3:16), and the Lord is also faithful to His covenant promises to and through Israel for all nations. The Church’s pre-eminent place before God is not at the expense of His word and promises regarding Israel or the other nations.
We as believers ought to humbly marvel and worship God as we realize more and more Who and What He is! As believers we are exhorted to examine and to judge ourselves, for those of the world – which today includes Israel and the Arab nations and peoples – are already condemned in their unbelief on the Name of the only-begotten Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ (1Cor. 11:28-32; 2Cor. 13:5). To us has been given the message of reconciliation – the good news of God to all peoples and nations – until the Lord takes us up to Himself and He finishes the work of putting away evil and workers of iniquity through His righteous and true judgments upon the nations – including Israel and the harlot church – as mankind’s Redeemer (Is. 26:9-10; Rev. 19:2).
Let us seek God’s grace and mercy and long-suffering to remain faithful to our own election in Christ, maintaining the salt of the covenant, even as we carry the gospel of peace to the children of Jacob and of Esau. The blood of Yeshua the Messiah, which He shed on the cross for our sins, is God the Father’s signature on His peace treaty. Hallelu-Yah! Amen.