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The twins - Esau and Jacob
of August 2001
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21 And Isaac entreated [prayed to] the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it be so, why am I thus?” And she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 And the LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from your bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and [but eventually] the elder shall serve the younger.”
What did this struggle mean and why in the womb?
There have always been two groups, and only two, in this world, Christian humans and natural humans, later collected into church and state, religious and civil organisations. From Cain and Abel to the present day there has always been conflict between them. See Romans 9:6-13. The “state” is pictured in Revelation chapter 17 as a “beast” with a “woman” rider on its back. This tells us that each state has its own religion. In some places that religion is a counterfeit of Christianity while in others it is an outright heathen one, but both are the same Satanic “system”. There are also natural humans (“tares”) among the “wheat” of the true Christian system, as there are “wheat” amongst the counterfeits, but the mainstream of each system is easy to see. Matthew 13:24-30.
When a professed Christian religion advocates that state force should be used to backup its authority (religion by civil law) then we may be sure that it is operating outside of God’s power. Another easily seen identifying sign is that such a religion often rejects God’s commandment regarding the day of worship and sets up its own instead. A third identifier is that it requires ALL the inhabitants of a particular area to be a part of, in sympathy with, or at the very least, not in opposition to it. There are other ways of seeing the counterfeits but these will do for now. ALL, without exception, maintain that they are true Christian organisations.
In any counterfeit Christian church we need to carefully distinguish between the “system” and its workers (the clergy), and the people who comprise its members (the laity): the woman and her mount. Some who comprise the latter are true Christians despite the “system”, while most of the leaders are not.
The members of the two groups are called by many names, but the main ones are believer and non-believer. However, a better way to distinguish them would be,
1. Those who follow God’s way of doing things,
2. Those who do their own thing their own way.
When Cain came to the altar at the gate of Eden he brought what he considered God would want, the work of his own hands, for he was a “tiller of the ground”. Genesis 4:2. Abel, on the other hand had sought out what God really wanted, and therefore brought a lamb to represent the Son of God. Although he was a shepherd, he did not consider an animal as an offering because of that fact. Instead he enquired of the LORD and was told to bring the beast and after killing it, to burn it completely on the altar. In this way he showed that he recognised what Jesus was doing for him right then. Genesis 4:4.
Since that time the whole of mankind has been divided into those two groups. Cain left home and set up his own “city” called at times “Babel” and “Babylon”. Genesis 4:16-17. Over the ages Satan very cleverly mixed the two “ways” until most of humanity considered that they were one and the same and joined their religions with the civil governments.
When Jesus was asked about the twins in Rebekah’s womb, He took the opportunity of reiterating the fact of separation. He told Rebekah that although the two boys had one father and came from one womb, they would eventually be completely different in character and be representatives of the two streams of humanity which we now call church and state. Paul explained this to the church at Rome.
6 …. For they are not all [spiritual] Israel, which are of [earthly] Israel. 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children [of God]: but, “In Isaac shall your seed be called.” 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise, “At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.”
10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election [character] might stand, not of works, but of Him that calls [and those that accept];) 12 it was said to her, “The elder shall serve the younger.”
13 As it is [also] written, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” [Malachi 1:2-3.]
This last sad statement from the Son of God is saying that He could not save Esau because His offers were always rejected, while Jacob eventually accepted His protection and salvation. We should not read “hated” as the children of this world see it.
Everything about the twins being equal at birth, it would be obvious to those who want to know that one chose salvation while the other rejected it. It could not be said of God that He favoured one above the other because of good works while they were in the womb. There is a place for good works, but it comes AFTER salvation is gifted.
That’s why it is written:
6 … [God] will render [a reward] to every man according to his deeds. 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.
8 But to them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that does evil, of the Jew [the church ones] first, and also of the Gentile [the natural ones].
10 But glory, honour, and peace to every man that works good, to the Jew [the church ones] first, and also to the Gentile [the natural ones]: 11 for there is no respect of persons with God.
God is exceedingly fair and treats both kinds of humans exactly alike. He just has more opportunity with the church ones. But the end of each man or woman will be according to the results of their choice, whether in the church or out of it, for even in the church many are still following their own way. See Revelation 22:12. The real purpose of the church is to act like leaven (yeast) and slowly change the behaviour of a few in the community. Not until the new world will there ever be a “Christian” state anywhere in the world.
Another parable spoke He to them; “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”
He then revealed that even the later environment of Jacob and Esau would not change this fact but would simply emphasise it.
He also prophesied that eventually the younger would have the precedence over the elder. See Revelation 3:9. This has not been the case very often over the millennia of earth’s history. When Cain’s offering was rejected and he was feeling very upset the Son of God left him to recuperate and learn from the Spirit. See John 16:7-8. However, Abel, the younger sibling, rushed in “where angels fear to tread” and endeavoured to convict Cain of his mistake. Genesis 4:8. The result was inevitable. Cain killed the accuser. That’s why God protected Cain from the wrath of the other believers. Genesis 4:15. Abel brought his punishment upon himself by his actions as so many have done since over the centuries.
Today many professed Christians have not yet learned how to handle their unbelieving and angry brothers, and they need to recognise by the sign on Cain’s head that God treats natural men and women carefully so that the Christians will not end up like Abel.
The promises made to Abraham and confirmed to his son, were held by Isaac and Rebekah as the great object of their desires and hopes. With these promises Esau and Jacob were familiar. From childhood they were taught to regard the birthright as a matter of great importance, for it included not only an inheritance of worldly wealth but also spiritual pre-eminence. They knew that he who received it was to be the priest of his family, and in the line of his descendants the Redeemer of the world would come.
On the other hand, there were obligations resting upon the possessor of the birthright. He who should inherit its blessings must devote his life to the service of God. Like Abraham, he must be obedient to the divine requirements. In marriage, in his family relationships, in public life, he must consult the will of God. He must behave towards his brother as the Son of God would.
It was this latter condition that made Esau so dislike his inheritance. Like his spiritual father (Satan, John 8:44) he wanted the power and position without the submission. He did not want to consider his brother, in this case his younger brother, of more importance than himself. In the original controversy, Lucifer, one of the two covering cherubs (pictured in Ezekiel 28:14 and Exodus 25:18-20), envied the other apparent cherub [angel] who was the actually the Son of God, and complained to God the Father about favouritism. When questioned Lucifer stated that he would willingly obey the Father but did not see why he had to obey the Person who looked so much like himself. But, when told by the Father to obey the Son, he rebelled, showing his true feelings, and so we have the controversy. This was what the fight in Rebekah’s womb pictured.
Esau and Jacob are also figures or types of the two last groups on earth - the faithful, who finally learn how to follow God’s “way” to the letter, and the rejecters who turn away from that attitude believing it to be unproductive. At the very end everyone will admit that what Jesus told Rebekah is true. Romans 14:11-12.
The Esau’s among us are normally quite content to have all this world’s goods (or as much as they can get of them), while the Jacob’s turn their eyes towards the spiritual things of the future. Although we are all physically born as Esau’s (Jacob was also a liar and a murderer at the beginning, John 8:44), we can be changed from one nature to another through the grace of God (this is often called “rebirth”). But not many will allow the Saviour to do this to them, although they like the appearance (counterfeit) of it.
Like Abraham and Isaac, Jacob wanted a different world. See Romans 4:13. Like them, he had to be taught how to accept it.
8 By faith Abraham [Abram], when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went. 9 By faith [in God’s promise] he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange [temporary] country, dwelling in tabernacles [tents] with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 for he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11 Through faith also [the same faith in the same Giver of the promises] Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from where they came out [the earth], they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He has prepared for them a city.
Jacob got the first promise of it while he was young, but the fulfilment was only assured to him when he overcame through prayer and had his name changed to “Israel” or “overcomer”. This is normal for all professed Christians but the time to get to this point varies from individual to individual. Abram/Abraham took 25 years to get it.
9 And Jacob said [prayed], “O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which said to me, ‘Return to your country, and to your kindred, and I will deal well with you’. 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which You have showed to Your servant; for with [only] my staff I passed over this Jordan [on the way to Mesopotamia]; and now I am become two [great] bands [of people as I go home].”
[We should not forget that our works do not come into this equation.]
11 “Deliver me, I pray you, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. 12 And You said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude’ [Jacob claimed that promise as his own and asked for protection for them.]”
While he was praying a hand touched him on the shoulder and he thought it was one of his enemies. So he fought back wildly in the darkness. But it was the hand of his Redeemer who had come to answer his prayer! So it will be at the end of time. The Christians will pray, the response from God will be misunderstood at first, but later accepted.
24 And Jacob was left alone [near the border of the Promised Land]; and there wrestled a Man with him until the breaking of the day.
25 And when He saw that He prevailed not against him [Jacob wouldn’t give up!], He touched the hollow of his thigh [to point out that this was a result of the struggle]; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with Him. 26 And He [Jesus] said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” And he [Jacob] said, “I will not let You go, except You bless me.” [Jacob was determined to remain in prayer until he received that which he needed, protection for his family even though he was wounded by this action.]
27 And He said to him, “What is your name [character]?” And he said, “Jacob [thief or supplanter].” 28 And He said, “Your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel [prince or leader]: for as a prince have you power with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
3 He took his brother by the heel in the womb [with his earthly strength], and [but] by his [spiritual] strength he had power with God. 4 Yes, he had power over the Angel, and prevailed [in the wrestling]: he wept [in genuine repentance over the shortcomings shown by his name], and made supplication to Him: he found Him in Bethel [the house of God], and there He spoke with us; 5 even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial.
6 Therefore turn you to your God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on your God continually.
29 And Jacob asked Him, and said, “Tell me, I pray You, Your name [character].” And He said, “Why is it that you do ask after My name? [Do you want to be like Me?]”. And He blessed him there [with the confirmation of the birthright].
30 And Jacob called the name of the place “Peniel [the face of God]: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
Thus the prophecy will be fulfilled. “Israel” will have control of the new world when “Esau” disappears in the Lake of Fire. Revelation 20:15. In this way Jesus prophesied that in the last days the “meek” should inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5. The last generation of Christians will learn that “peace” is greater than the “sword” and will overcome their angry brothers with love as Jesus did at Calvary. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Luke 23:24.
21 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for you are My servant: I have formed you; you are My servant: O Israel, you shall not be forgotten of Me. 22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins: return to Me; for I have redeemed you.
23 Sing, O you heavens; for the LORD has done it: shout, you lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel.
Salvation, like redemption, is the gift of God. Jesus used the circumstances of Rebekah’s twins to illustrate the two kinds of humans. Before they had done anything in the world, good or bad, He pronounced that one child would terrorise the other at first, but eventually the younger would prevail.
This came about because one accepted His offer while the other rejected it and joined the opposition. So, a real life situation was used to proclaim the truth to the world that we as individuals decide our own destiny.
When the message of truth is presented in our day, there are many who, like the Jews, cry, “Show us a sign. Work us a miracle.” Matthew 16:1.
Christ wrought no miracle at the demand of the Pharisees. He wrought no miracle in the wilderness in answer to Satan's insinuations. Matthew 4:3-4. He does not impart to us power to vindicate ourselves or to satisfy the demands of unbelief and pride.
But the gospel is not without a sign of its divine origin.
Is it not a miracle that we can be set free from the bondage of Satan? John 8:32-36. Enmity against Satan is not natural to the human heart; it is implanted by the grace of God. Genesis 3:15. When one who has been controlled by a stubborn, wayward will is set free, and yields him or herself wholeheartedly to the drawing of God's heavenly agencies, a miracle is wrought. Mark 5:1-15. So also when a man or woman who has been under strong delusion comes to understand moral truth. Luke 22:31-34.
Every time a soul is converted in nature or in doctrine, and learns to love God and keep His commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, "A new heart also will I give you, AND a new spirit will I put within you." Ezekiel 36:26.
The change in human hearts and the transformation of human characters are miracles that reveal an ever-living Saviour, working to rescue and sustain individuals. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle. Also, in the preaching of the word of God, the sign that should be manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit to make the word a regenerating, lifegiving, power to those that hear.
THIS is the purpose of God's witness, the church, to the divine mission of His Son before the world.
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