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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

‘JACOB’ II

“And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, twins in her womb. And the first came out red all over like a garment; and they called his name Esau. After that came his brother out and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel and his name was called Jacob” (Gen. 25:24f).

The time to be born had come. No more waiting and no more speculation. Months of worry and consternation about the birth of their first children would now be over. Hope and anticipation had reached their zenith and Rebekah’s body could hold the children no more for it was time for the manifestation of the faithfulness of God’s Word. These children did not become alive when they were born. They had completed the required gestation period and, in the fullness of time, their life became evident by the birth process. This simple and natural example of an event that is common to all mankind, should be sufficient for all to see that life precedes birth yet, when this principle is applied to one who is born from above, the modern theologians maintain that being ‘born again’ produces life. They confuse the concepts and terms, quickening, regeneration and being born again making them synonymous with the conscience action of one accepting Christ into their hearts and being made alive, born again and saved. Time and the subject matter of this treatise prohibits an elaboration on these Biblical precepts but, suffice to say that, just as these two babies had nothing to do with them being made alive and the manifestation of that life to the world, so also are they that, having been made alive by the Spirit, which quickens, are revealed to be ‘sons of God’ in time, being born from above.

When the first child appeared, he was covered, from head to toe, with red hair like a garment. He came forth from the womb with the distinction of a red covering which God had assigned to him and they named him ‘hairy’ (Esau). As he was exiting the birth canal, his younger brother, still in his mother’s womb, put forth his hand and took hold of the heel of the elder. Do we imagine this to be a completely spontaneous muscular hic-up or twitch of an involuntary nature that could happen to anyone during any normal birth? Or do we acknowledge that God caused the muscles in his little body to contract and reach forth for the purpose of laying hold on that heel? Was this an accident or was this an action conducive to his nature by which he was named, Jacob, he who ‘takes hold of the heel’ or ‘the layer of snares’ or ‘the supplanter’?

Why did Jacob take hold of Esau’s heel? Without question, it was because God caused him to do it, but why the heel? What significance and purpose is there in taking hold of the heel? Was it just the last part of Esau that was leaving the womb and Jacob had delayed his act to long to grab him any place else? Is this just an anomaly of the scriptures that happened and only the fanatic tries to make significance of it and give it purpose? Or is everything important in the record of the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

“To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven” (Ecc. 3:1) and “there is a time for every purpose and for every work” (3:17). There is no such thing as an arbitrary act, a stray thought or a misspoken word. Every thought, word and deed is enacted by God. “The preparation of the heart in man and the answer of the tongue is from Jehovah” (Pro. 16:1) and “power belongs to God” (Ps. 62:11). This taking of the heel was a physical demonstration by God, who caused that little hand to, not just touch his brothers foot, or to make a gesture in the direction of the foot in which on-lookers thought it looked like he may have possibly grabbed at the foot but to stretch out that frail little hand, grasp and lay hold of Esau’s heel. Jacob grasped it in an unmistakable manifestation of the power of God, which he did not have in and of himself, for the purpose of fulfilling the prophetic Word that God had spoken when He said, “The elder shall serve the younger” (25:23). God had assigned to each his station in life and even though it is contrary to what man would call the ‘natural order’, He demonstrated His sovereignty over all things before either child was born and before they had done good or evil.

We have all been around a baby or two when they are ‘new born’. We can see the little hands clutched in a fist like manner and held close to the tiny body. Their eyes have not yet opened and they appear all wrinkled and helpless. Who then could describe this complex neurological and muscular feat, performed by this helpless frail being, apart from the direct hand of God? Were there a chorus of cheering people encouraging the child onward in his endeavor, he did not possess the ability or the understanding of their words or instructions. Were there copious volumes of reading material, with charts, graphs and a commentary or two, intended to educate this little one how to accomplish this action, it would prove useless for he could not read. His eyes were still closed and the head had not yet appeared from the birth canal and there was no one who could show him how to perform something so completely unnatural, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

If these things be evident in nature, why then are they dismissed and abhorred when spoken of in the spiritual birth from above. Jacob like every child of promise is born without any effort or assistance on their part and they perform all acts exactly as ordained from on High. Not by might, nor by strength but by the Spirit of the Most High.

This supplanting of Jacob into the place of the first-born was not of his doing any more than he could facilitate his own conception, gestation or birth. Yet as the birth is a manifestation of the pre-existent life within the womb, so, Jacob’s action, as he departed the womb, is a manifestation of the assigned lot that God had decreed. Everything in his growth and development from his social amenities to his lies, deception and trickery were as God predestined for the performance of His Holy will and to His praise. This doctrine of the predestination of all things ascribes to God, as the Most Wise and Omnipotent God who is the designer and orchestrator of all things whatsoever come to pass, His rightful place as God and does not accuse Him of any impropriety or sin. Carnal man cannot require anything from the Almighty nor can he hold Him accountable, as if to judge Him, for His ways are not the ways of man and man is incapable to understand His perfect way.

Jacob’s chicanery in depriving Esau of his birthright could not have been successful if God had not ordained it so. He caused Esau, who lived by the supply of this world, to come from the field faint. He prevented his body from obtaining the proper nutrition to sustain him. He directed his thoughts and passions so that Esau would despise his birthright for God had made him apathetic to its significance and worth.

Esau was a man of the field and a cunning hunter. He was born with the covering of hair so as to be completely compatible with the elements and conditions of this world. He was at home in the field and in the woods. His life style was rugged and resourceful and he excelled in the affairs of survival. His hair (covering) was red like ‘Adam’ and therefore he was called ‘Edom’ and his family the Edomites. He was loved of his father because of these self sustaining and cunning attributes and he exemplified the traits of the elders of old. “Cush begat Nimrod; he became a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before Jehovah wherefore it is said, Nimrod the mighty hunter before Jehovah” (Gen. 10:8f). {Blackness begat rebellion who became a hero in the world. He mightily provided for himself before Jehovah (from the earth) as it is said ‘Rebellion the great provider before Jehovah.’} The world esteems such attributes as wonderful and magnificent. They are rewarded with praise and respect from those who ascribe to the same greatness. There is no sacrifice of thanks giving before the Lord and giver of all things. There is no acknowledgement that, “I, Jehovah, do all these things” (Is. 47:7) for the man of the field is of the earth, earthly. He praises the works of his own hands and has said in his heart, “there is no God” (Ps. 14:1).

Esau had no need of a tabernacle. He was well adapted both in nature and in skill to survive in the elements. If a real estate agent was to come upon Esau to show him houses for his dwelling, Esau would dismiss the peddler and send him on his way. He had been created complete and thoroughly adapted to the conditions of this world. Just as Jesus told the Pharisees, “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick” (Luke 5:31), Esau was in no need of provision, or assistance from anyone or a dwelling place to lay his head.

How is it then that this ‘cunning hunter’ and ‘man of the field’ should come from the field, faint and hungry, begging for soup? Why could he not provide for himself from the beasts of the woods or the fruit of the field, or, is it not better asked, why were the provisions of this world insufficient for Esau at this time? Consider how long he must have hunted game for food and cultivated the field satisfying his needs before, one day, his appetite could no longer be satiated by the provisions of the world. Where was the ‘savory meat’ that he prepared from the hunt? Where were the fruits and vegetables which, today’s so called nutritionist preach, are essential for good health and long life? How long had this hunger progressed till it brought him to the point of being near death? And what brought him to Jacob, the simple man who had his dwelling in a tent?

God had proclaimed His word to Rebekah before the children were born. He said that the one child would be stronger than the other and as the two youths grew His word came to pass. He had given Esau every attribute and ability that made him a strong, resourceful and powerful man. Esau would have twelve sons which would grow into twelve families. These families were to be prosperous in the land and grow into a mighty nation called Edom. While Jacob’s children were left in bondage to the Egyptian task masters building the great statues and buildings to Pharaoh, the nation of Edom was to be a major contributor in the commerce and politics of the ‘civilized’ world. They would have a prominent ruling class with many ‘Dukes’ and even have kings while the nomadic house of Jacob was being transformed, by the hand of God, from twelve sons of one man into a nation that would wander in the wilderness for 40 years. But, before any of this was made manifest, at the precise moment according to God’s most perfect time table and after the exact manner He had predestinated, having all people, conditions and elements in proper order, God reversed the roles making Esau, the cunning hunter, helpless and weak while making Jacob, the tent dweller, mighty. God effectually worked in the emotions, mentality and metabolism of Esau’s body so that his environment was unfamiliar to him, his ambitions were proven vain and the victuals, that he had eaten all his life, were no longer agreeable to him. His appetite was not stayed. The food did not fill or nourish him. He grew weaker by the moment until he was faint unto death. God brought him down from the high mountain of pride in his abilities and humbled him to the point of being destitute. He had implanted in his heart the idea to abandon his way of life that had sustained him all these years and to seek out his younger brother. He also removed everyone else but Jacob from being able to give assistance. No one else could have aided Esau or have acted as Jacob did. God empowered Jacob with the means and the opportunity to save Esau. God orchestrated the matter to the minutest details as to cause one to be boiling soup while the other was starving.

Not just any soup either. This was ‘red’ soup for the child that had the covering like a garment of ‘red’ hair. Jacob was cooking a red, ‘adom’, stew for a red, ‘edom’, man or, in other words, he was preparing exactly what Esau needed. Esau could not sit at the banquet table which the King had prepared for His Beloved for the food there is not palatable to the man of Adam. He could not eat the grass of the pastures for they are provided for the sheep. He had no right or portion by the still waters for he needed Jacob to, “Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage, for I am faint” (Gen. 25:29). Each and every element of this experience displayed the sovereign hand of the Almighty God who works all things after the counsel of His will and for His good pleasure, in every thought, word and deed of all of creation.

These same principles apply to the matter of the birthright. Esau was the first born. He had not obtained that position by any thought, word or deed which he had done and he could do nothing to alter it. Upon his death, he would for all time be known as the firstborn of Isaac and Rebekah, yet God caused his mental faculties to be influenced by the perceived severity of his situation, to the extent that he despised his birthright. He altered his cognitive abilities and directed his deductive reasoning to conclude that the right and privilege of the first born was of no use to him because he was about to die of starvation. God turned his heart so as to account his standing in Isaac to be inconsequential and trivial. Esau cared not for the inheritance or the honour. His attention was focused upon self preservation. God had ordered this matter fast and sure and had caused all things to come to pass. All the ingredients had been properly added to the mixture and the meal was now ready. All people, places and things were in precise order and mindset so that, not only would Esau reject his birthright but he despised it. He had complete and utter contempt for it and regarded it as worthless and vile. He denounced his station in life, the parents which bore him and the God who gave him life.

Thus Esau stands as a type of natural Israel who has rejected the distinction of being the naturally chosen people of God, the testimony of His goodness, protection and longsuffering. They despised the covenant of the firstborn, they have called the inheritance of Abraham worthless, saying, “Ye say it is vain to serve God; and what profit is there that we keep His ordinances and that we walk mournfully before the Lord of hosts?” (Mal. 3:14). The nature of the natural man, as seen in Esau, saw no profit in his birthright, Judah, after the same nature asked, ‘what profit is there if we kill Joseph?’ and the nation of Israel found no profit in serving the living God. Interesting how today’s religious societies that grease the wheels of the juggernaut of the modern, ‘Zionistic’ neo-evangelical machine all deal in the same concept of profit. They judge success by the size of the bank account, truth by the numbers in the congregations and the righteousness of stewardship by the returns on monetary investments. Israel of old corrupted herself in the commerce and merchandising of the Law of Moses so that, “all nations have drunk of the wine of her fornication and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her; the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies” (Rev. 18:3). She was given to believe the lie that she would one day be elevated, once again as in the days of David, to the status of the ‘queen’ (Rev. 18:7) and she would reign over the heathen. This is not a coincidence that the ‘Judeo-Christian’ epidemic of this present evil generation should have the same characteristics and end designs or that it should be so involved with trade, commerce and financial endeavors.

What benefit was this birthright to Jacob? Could he, by obtaining it from one who had neither the right nor power to give it away, let alone sell it for a bowl of soup, become Isaac’s firstborn son? Never! No one could ever alter the course of creation that God has established. All the cumulative efforts of man and his technology could never set or undo the time sequence and order of events. Jacob could never change places in the womb with Esau to become the first born any more than he could make himself over to have a red hairy covering and become Edom. He was Jacob the supplanter and deceiver, he was a child of promise and born from above, he was the younger son of Isaac and Esau was ordained to serve him. God had spoken, “the elder shall serve the younger”. If Jacob could change places with Esau then he would be the elder and he would be in servitude to Esau. Thanks be unto our God that the child of promise does not serve the man of the world but rather the flesh is controlled by the Spirit of God, “Ye are of God, little children and have overcome them because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4).

Consider the events in the life of Isaac who at the age of 100 could not see well enough to recognize his sons. God had caused Rebekah to be barren for those 20 years as an intricate part of His design so that this event would fall out with the accuracy and precision that He decreed before the world was formed. See how He had caused Isaac’s body to age and deteriorate with such infirmities as to make him just a passive participant in this elaborate ruse concocted by Rebekah. Consider well how He set it in the hearts of Jacob and Rebekah to conclude that such a deception was needful to secure the promise of God. Notice how Isaac was prepared to be fooled by such a maneuver and how thoroughly fooled he was? Surely he would not have been so deceived had he been of a younger age, clearer mind and untrammeled eyes. God had given Isaac a love for the man of the world and the delicacies that his hand could prepare. Where did he get such a love for the venison that Esau prepared? Why not just a bowl of Jacob’s famous ‘red’ soup?

And what of Rebekah to whom God had spoken these promises, did He ask her for her help in the matter? Had He sought her maternal instincts and wisdom for advice in order to plan this delicate and difficult situation? Where did she get such an idea and the passion to engage this deviant plot to deceive her husband and deprive her son? Was she hiding when Isaac spoke to Esau and said, “Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow and go out to the field and take venison and make me savoury meat such as I love and bring to me that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die” (Gen. 27:3)? God had told her that the elder shall serve the younger but, after the nature of the flesh, she took it upon herself to facilitate the mater. Why did Jacob listen to her?

“The lot is cast into the lap but the whole disposing thereof is of Jehovah” (Prov. 16:33).

These questions may seem laborious and inconsequential to the reader since oft times we do not think of the characters of the scriptures as real people in real life situations facing very difficult circumstances, but they were ever as real as we are today. They lived with the same fears and doubts which we face day in and day out and no amount of modern technology can alleviate these frustrations and concerns. They faced the same social, ecological, political and personal problems with the same consternations and trepidations. They worked hard, striving for improvement and satisfaction, in their vocations and in their homes, enduring famine, plague and distress from without and within. There is no trial or temptation that the child of grace endures today that is any different from those endured by the saints of old, “for there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man;” (I Cor. 10:13). There is also no wickedness, corruption or villainy new today, even in this present evil generation. That which is flesh will always be of the flesh. It minds the things of this world and desires the delicacies and accolades of the world. It evaluates situations and circumstances according to the carnal understanding that is inherent to its nature. It is sustained by the lusts of the flesh, the pride of life and the lust of they eye and cannot rise above or beyond this temporal existence.

Mans wisdom explains daily events as luck or chance, tethered to intuition and education, that happen randomly in time to everyone. It concludes that these arbitrary events, without discipline or order come together spontaneously, devoid of design or purpose, to form a series of fortuitous circumstances, called fate, which molds and shape man into a person of value with morals and dignity. A vulgar adage such as, ‘A hard winter produces good fruit’, while true in nature, removes the scepter of deity from God and replaces it with the ‘organized’ chaos of a civilized world and the logical confusion of Babylon as it ascribes power and efficacious order to ‘mother nature’, ‘El Nino’, shifting tectonic plates and ‘global warming’. The most eloquent wisdom of man remains foolishness as he says in his heart, “There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works and there is none that doeth good” (Ps. 14:1).

God does not seek the counsel of the wisdom of man for “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth forth His handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). But rather “I beheld all the work of God that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun, because, though a man labour to seek out, yet he shall not find, yea farther, though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find” (Ecc. 8:17).

Each and every aspect of these events in the lives of Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob, to the minutest detail, must be completely under the control of the One who desires them to unfold in a particular order. What good would the most glorious and magnificent wonder ever displayed be if there were no power to perform it? And what an absolute waste of power and majesty there would be if there was no purpose or design for it to be demonstrated. If one event, in thought, word or deed, as purposed by God, is out of alignment or happens out of the proper time signature, the event will be altered and will not occur exactly how it was designed. Unless precise planning, organization, empowerment and execution is handled with absolute authority and command, according to the predesigned specifications and standards, there could be one micro-organism out of place or one rouge sub-atomic particle with an incorrect electrical charge. This could possibly result in time being out of sequence by the smallest of a fraction of a millisecond and the intersection of a planned set of circumstance might never happen for the parties would never meet. If a word were spoken out of place, an undisciplined thought may prejudice the mindset of the participants and justice may be replaced with clemency. Should a most eloquent oratorio be performed before the tingling ears of a liberal audience the popular opinion might be halted and, rather then condemn the innocent man, whom Pilate could find no fault in, universal charity may cause the high priests and the people say, ‘set Jesus free and keep that murderer, Barabbas, in prison where he belongs.’ Were it not for the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, salvation may have been eradicated by ecumenicism and tolerance.

Jacob, the man, was a conniving unscrupulous man; an opportunist who took advantage of a man in need, an aged father and a deceitful mother. He had no characteristics which were commendable. He was not aggressive or strong and he lacked the charisma that drew people unto him, “That no flesh should glory in His presence” (I Cor. 1:29).

But that is Jacob the man.

(Elder) Chet Dirkes
May 2010
Welsh Tract Church

Banner Of Hope
Volume 4, No. 2