Commentary On Genesis 1:1-5

1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth

God created the environments for all created life forms “in the beginning”. This verse is absolutely clear, the heaven and the earth, the environment for all subsequent creation was the beginning of creation. Nothing preceded the creation of heaven and earth apart from the Creator God! God created from nothing—ex nihilo! This passage demands that we face His pre-existence and the depth and complexity of His mind and purpose as we seek to understand His Glory and purpose. God is the Designer and Creator of all the cosmos in which we see and move and have our being.

1:2a and the earth was without form and void,

The earth had no living organism on it and was incapable of producing any living thing of itself because only God is the author of life within His creation. Has God made provision for all living things to procreate? Yes. Does that mean they are independent of His providence in doing so? Absolutely not! If even a sparrow does not fall to the ground without His notice, is it possible that one can come into existence without His touch?

1:2b and darkness was upon the deep,

Darkness in Holy Scripture has spiritual and physical meaning. First the physical: the absence of illumination by which we might see and understand our physical environment. But that is obvious. What of the spiritual? Let us consider “deep” as the heaven and the earth. But whatever it is, the deep is without doubt a significant part of His creation. As such, it is in the dark which is very significant to our understanding since God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. How then did He create something that is in the dark? Why then did He create something that is in the dark? Is this condition only in place until the sun, moon, and stars were created? No. Sun, moon, and stars are not spiritual but physical and cannot cure or illuminate the spiritual darkness in which creation was ordained to exist. So how did He create in darkness? He created a realm apart from Himself by the power of His will. Why? For His own Good Pleasure!

1:2c and the Spirit of God moved upon the waters.

God’s hand in providence is actively engaged in the workings of His creation to fulfil His purposes in it! Throughout time, beginning to end!

What effect could this view have on modern Christianity’s idea of God? Or more to the point the power of man as a self directed being? That is a creature with a “free will”. Lets examine it from command for us to pray. Does God answer prayer? Yes. But how? What does it mean to “pray in His name”? Example: Hezekiah was sick unto death and begged God that he might live. God answered his prayer by granting him another 15 years to rule over the nation. Did God feel sorry for the king and grant his prayer because he had been faithful? Is being outwardly obedient and faithful the same thing? Why was Hezekiah unwilling to go on and be with the Lord? There is no mention of Enoch begging for more time and he was very faithful. Did Hezekiah believe that no one could rule over the nation as well as he? How is that faithful? How is that trusting in the providence of God for the nation in his absence? God is omniscient (knowing the end from the beginning). He knows the answer to all these questions perfectly. When God answers prayer, it is in His will to do so. He always answers it according to His will. His purpose will be fulfilled. How hard is that for us to accept? So hard that we accuse Him of being the author of sin when we are the ones at fault! Especially when pain and suffering are the result of actions we perceived as good.

Try this: the sin of man serves the ultimate purpose of God, even when we are personally guilty of the most vile offense!  If it did not do so, the omnipotence and omniscience of God, in fact the very goodness of His Character could rightly be(and in fact most Unrighteously are) called into question. There is a whole subcategory of theology called theodicy that is dedicated to answering the question, “If God is good, why is there evil in the world?” We are not above blaming the Creator for our sin! When confronted by God, Adam said, “…that woman you gave me…”, laying the blame ultimately on God Himself. If God hadn’t given him that woman, he would not have committed the sin! A bald-faced lie to be sure, but hey, any excuse is better than none (or so it is said)!

As long as man is morally accountable—held responsible for his actions by other men as well as by God, how can he possibly consider his will to be free? Joseph was sold into slavery—his brothers meant it for evil but God meant it for good! Was their action sinful? You bet! Did God force them to do it? No! Did He use it for His glory and the ultimate good of His people? Absolutely! Can God do that in every circumstance He chooses? Yes!

If the story of Joseph is used to illustrate to us the fact of God’s omnipotent providence, how can we claim our will is determinative? Just because we can sin against God does not mean we can defeat His purpose in the very sin He already knows we will commit! That does not make our sin one iota less egregious!

Now, leaving the discussion of the Spirit of God moving on the waters, we go back to verse 3.

1:3 and God said let there be light and there was light.

Again we are confronted with the physical and the spiritual. What is the light God spoke into existence before the sun, moon, and stars existed? Since they are all sources of visible light in the universe, the light God spoke into existence must be the light that brings a knowledge of Him in a realm that is separate from Him. God said it and it was so!

1:4 God saw the light that it was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.

God determined that imprinting a source of the knowledge of Himself into the very fabric of His creation was good and so made a division between knowledge of Himself and knowledge of the creation the denies Him. All creation shows forth the glory of God!

1:5 and God called the Light, day and the darkness He called night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

So the idea of day and night, light and dark, good and evil, preceded the sun, moon, and stars in the creation. They were however, endemic to the plan of God in both the physical reality of life on earth and the spiritual reality of life and death.

A new Look at Jacob Part 4

JACOB RENAMED ISRAEL

Jacob sent all he had ahead to appease Esau and is left alone. The following is often considered to be a theophany.

32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
32:25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
32:27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
32:28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
32:29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
32:30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
32:31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.

It is here that Jacob is renamed Israel. He is supplanting no one. He is in no one else’s place as he wrestles with God. When asked his name he says Jacob! The Lord tells him he is no longer Jacob but Israel. He is not supplanting another, not pretending to be Esau getting the blessing from Isaac. He is no longer the un-favored son of Isaac. He is renamed in accordance with what his whole life, culminating in this event, has been. God has proclaimed this man’s victory as a prince having power with God and with men.

This blessing does not come because he overcame the sinful nature of a conman and trickster. It comes after a lifetime of living down a name and having little courage, living in such fear of Esau wiping out him and his entire family that he was left with nothing. If he could not obtain the blessing as the man he was, he would die in the attempt. He prevailed. His life of perseverance prevailed. Nowhere in Scripture does it show that he was after the quick, easy way. Nowhere does it say or show that he cheated anyone out of anything save one instance when he reluctantly obeyed his mother and got the blessing by false pretense.

A STEP BACK

A casual reading of the story of Jacob could lead one to take Jacob as a trickster, when all he did was obey his mother when she commanded him to deceive Isaac. Taking a step back, we have to recognize that Rebekah did not understand the prophecy. Why would Jacob have needed the blessing of Isaac when he had already been guaranteed the blessing of God?

Taking Esau’s heel when they were born could have reinforced the prophecy in Isaac’s mind: the elder shall serve the younger; this taken to mean that Jacob would become patriarch. Did he? If that understanding was true, then at some point Esau would have been in submission to him as if Jacob was in the place of Isaac. That never happened. Esau never served Jacob as if Jacob were the tribal elder. Esau became the founder of Edom, establishing his own nation.

This nation would eventually serve the nation Israel. Rebekah thought that Esau would be Jacob’s servant and the only way that could happen is for Jacob to become the Patriarch instead of Esau. The prophecy was fulfilled but not as Rebekah thought it would be.

SUMMARY

A Scriptural character description of Jacob says:

A simple man dwelling in tents.

Obedient to his parents. Favorite of Rebekah.

Fell in love with Rachel at first sight.

Was willing to and gave 7 years labor for her hand.

Love was so strong that 7 years seemed to him only a few days.

When Laban gave him Leah he agreed to another 7 years for Rachel and Laban trusted him enough that he gave her to him on credit.

Even after Laban’s trickery he worked another 6 years for him to build his fortune for his family.

He was the object of the prophecy given to Rebekah as the one chosen by God to be the heir of the covenant promise. So? Was he a con-man who was so corrupt that it took 20 years of suffering to change him? A careful reading of the Scriptures does not bear out that his time with Laban was penance for his skullduggery in obtaining the birthright or the blessing. I do not see his initiative in the deception to obtain the blessing and he deceived no one in obtaining the birthright. I do not see Scripture portraying Jacob as a betrayer or deceiver out for personal gain.

The last six years he worked for Laban, God was giving him the increase, and he knew it. The word in Hebrew used by Esau and translated as supplant in the KJV (Strong’s 6117) does NOT have the connotation of deceit. Since Esau doesn’t even believe he was tricked out of his inheritance, why should we? Read carefully the way Jacob addressed Isaac when he took him the meal and compare it to the way Esau spoke to him. It leaves little room for doubt that Jacob did the bare minimum to make Rebekah’s plan work.

When he was being sent to Padanaram, he had already received the blessing which was the official transfer of power. He could have had Esau sent away or even killed for threatening him. He could have taken full advantage of his new position to exercise the power to which he was now entitled. Did he? No. He remained the obedient son and left for Padanaram to find a wife just as his parents asked and left with another blessing from Isaac!

Would anyone who lusted after wealth and power and had tricked, conned and cajoled his way into the position of power held by the Patriarch just walk off and leave it? Surely if he were as afraid of Esau as later passages show him to be even after twenty years, he would have not balked at using his newly acquired power to end that situation.

QUESTION

What is the theological purpose in painting Jacob as a deceiver in the way the prophecy was worked out? If the story of Jacob is used to show that change of heart can be wrought in us by situations forcing us to finally ask for forgiveness (foxhole religion)—repent, then we believe that it is up to us in the final analysis to seek God’s mercy and if we do not then it is our fault. God has made salvation possible and all and those who accept this free gift can boast of it (even though they really should not) and those who do not– well they deserve what they get and we can feel very sorry for them. If we believe that we must change before God will respond to us, then we believe that ultimately the last word in our salvation is our own acceptance or rejection of a free “offer” of salvation by God.

So building a theology based upon what man can or should do instead of upon what Scripture reveals God has done and will do, produces anthropomorphic theology—God, created in the image of man. This makes God very predictable and comfortable and familiar, less holy and foreboding. A theology based upon what man can do sells. People want to believe in themselves and their abilities. And when we look around we find great comfort in the fact that we can always find someone more depraved and evil than we are so that must mean there is hope after all, right?

The religions this theology produces have the form of Godliness but deny the power thereof. Change is not wrought in us by situations forcing us to change, but by the hand of God removing our heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh. So it is “not of him who willeth nor of him who runneth, but of God who showeth mercy.”

The last word in salvation is that of Jesus Christ. He will either say well done, good and faithful servant, or, get thee away from Me, I NEVER KNEW THEE! His word decides our eternal destiny, and His alone. He is King.

Let the Word of GOD speak.

Hear what IT says.

Discern ITS meaning.

It really is okay that we might not understand how or why as long as we know WHO!

A new Look at Jacob Part 3

ISAAC’S FEAR

27:33 And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.

Remember the story of Balaam? The king wanted him to curse Israel and offered him great wealth to do so. But no matter how much Balaam wanted that wealth he could not curse Israel unless God gave the word to do so. Balaam was a prophet. So was Isaac. He was the seed of Abraham whom he loved, the one through whom the covenant blessing was to pass and it was to pass to Jacob. Right here Isaac admits that Jacob is God’s chosen whether he likes it or not! Esau was Isaac’s chosen–his favorite. He is the one Isaac wanted the covenant to pass to. But at this moment Isaac must have remembered the prophecy. He trembled very exceedingly and said WHO?

When Esau returned and Isaac found out what happened, what kept him from revoking the blessing given under false pretenses? Certainly he also knew of the prophecy but denied it because of his feelings for Esau, but when faced with going against the express Word of God or letting the blessing stand, he let it stand. Esau’s pain was from wounded pride and nothing else.

Now, lest you think that his trembling was from anger, Strong’s # 2729 means to shudder with terror! He could only have been trembling in fear at the realization of what had just happened. He had planned to confer the blessing upon the one God hated, and he feared God.

27:34 And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.

27:35 And he said, Thy brother came with subtlety, and hath taken away thy blessing.

27:36 And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me? …

Isaac may have been tricked into giving the blessing to Jacob but there was no way he was going to take it back in favor of Esau. There was no way he was going to give an equivalent blessing to Esau. Esau’s blessing did prophesy the breaking of the yoke of Israel from the neck of Edom, but did not even mention the blessing of the covenant.

SUBTILTIES OF TRANSLATION

The KJV shows Esau to claim that Jacob is rightly named because he has supplanted him these two times. But look at Young’s Literal Translation of verse 36:

27:36 And he saith, `Is it because [one] called his name Jacob that he doth take me by the heel these two times? my birthright he hath taken; and lo, now, he hath taken my blessing;` he saith also, `Hast thou not kept back a blessing for me?`

Esau asks if the reason this has happened might not be because of what Jacob was named! In this translation Esau doesn’t ask the rhetorical question, “Is he not rightly named…?” He asks if he did this because of his name! He implies that it might be partly Isaac’s fault for giving him the name meaning supplanter in the first place! He refuses in both translations to accept any responsibility for giving away the birthright, claiming the loss of the blessing to be the second time, and only the second time, Jacob had stepped into his place.

If Jacob had truly been a con-man and trickster in getting the things he wanted; if your brother had tricked you and others out of many things as you grew up and now he pulled the crowning trick of securing your blessing, and you were crying out to your father about the injustice of your brother’s actions, would you have limited your selection of his sins to just two??? Never forget the Bible says Esau was the cunning one!

SEND HIM AWAY

27:41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.

Rebekah heard of this threat. Esau said it in his heart but he also let his jealous rage be known. His mother also knew of his temper. He would be okay in a few days when he cooled off. So to defuse the situation she decided it was time for Jacob to take a wife and none would do but one from the house of Laban, her brother, four hundred miles away. By the time Jacob got back Esau would be calmed down.

Remember his reaction when Esau came for the blessing after Jacob had left:

27:33 And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.

Isaac certainly knew of the enmity between Esau’s wives and Rebekah. She used that as an excuse to send Jacob away for a little while, until Esau cooled off, by telling Isaac that if Jacob married a local girl she would just die. She wanted him to go to Padanaram to find a wife. Evidently Isaac forgave Jacob for the deception in obtaining the blessing because he sent Jacob off to Rebekah’s brother Laban with his blessing, and no half hearted blessing at that. (Gen 28:1-4) He conferred a blessing on Jacob that reflected his understanding that Jacob was the chosen of God and that the prior blessing was his by the will of God even though it was obtained through Rebekah’s subterfuge!

Early on in the journey, Jacob had a dream!

THE DREAM

28:10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.

28:11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.

28:12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

28:13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;

28:14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

28:15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

28:16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.

28:17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

28:18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.

28:19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.

28:20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,

28:21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:

28:22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

Jacob received the assurance of God himself that he would be taken care of. It says nothing of him recognizing his guilt. It says nothing of him changing anything. He feared God and vowed to tithe to Him. This is his first night on the road to his uncle’s house. He received the covenant promise of the God of Abraham and Isaac. Why should he need to spend twenty years becoming worthy of accepting that promise. He was supposed to go to Laban’s house, find a wife, spend a few days and return home. His love for Rachel kept him there for fourteen years and his perception of the need to provide for his family kept him there another six.

His righteousness and honesty were admitted by Laban when after fourteen years Jacob made a deal with Laban to build his wealth for his own family.

30:33 So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me.

30:34 And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.

Laban trusted Jacob! At the end of that six years the Lord spoke to Jacob telling him to go back to the land of Canaan.

31:11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.

31:12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.

31:13 I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.

Another encounter with the Lord is very telling. It begins in Chapter 32 verse 9.

32:9 And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:

32:10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.

32:11 Deliver me, I pray thee, 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.

32:12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

32:13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother;

The following could well be equivalent to what Esau would have gotten as his birthright from Isaac. Jacob was not a mighty man of valor. Perhaps he hoped that by returning the material wealth that the birthright carried with it, Esau would be appeased.

32:14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,

32:15 Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals.

32:16 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.

32:17 And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?

32:18 Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob’s; it is a present sent unto my Lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.

32:19 And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him.

32:20 And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.

32:21 So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company.

32:22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.

32:23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.

(Continued in part 4)

A new Look at Jacob Part 2

The cunning one?

Esau the cunning hunter had been, as we used to say, skunked. He had failed to bring home food from the hunt. He had failed to live up to his reputation. What does Scripture say?

25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.

Now it is interesting that, at Esau’s naming, his ruddy complexion was ignored but in verse 30 it is brought out. Jacob’s soup was reddish in color. Esau was faint with hunger and asked for some of Jacob’s soup and so he was called Edom which means red? What is the connection here? Was he red because he was naturally ruddy or faint? Or was he red because of humiliation at coming to his brother to give him food—this cunning hunter and man of the field.

25:29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:
25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.

Maybe Esau was embarrassed at his failure! What does it mean, “that same red pottage”? Could it be that he was red-faced? Could it be that his empty-handed return and “faintness” made his redness so obvious that he was afterwards called Edom? One who is very arrogant and fails is subject to far worse scorn and ridicule than one who is humble. How long was this nickname Edom to stick? He founded the nation of Edom! Don’t forget that this was a very wealthy family with many herds, flocks and menservants and maidservants. Esau could have gone to any of them and demanded food. Perhaps he thought to keep his failure as quiet as possible. Perhaps he thought he could just demand of Jacob as he had so many times before and Jacob would just acquiesce as he had so many times before to his older, stronger, more cunning, brother. But Jacob wasn’t having it this time.

25:33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swear unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

When Esau said that the birthright would be of no use if he died of hunger, he was showing his disregard for the position of patriarch and lack of concern for the responsibilities associated with it in this very wealthy family. He showed that his concern was for himself alone. Notice that after he was filled and no longer “faint” that he “rose up, and went his way” not even bothering to rebuke Jacob for taking advantage of his “weakened condition”. He showed no remorse for having given away his birthright for virtually nothing, a bowl of soup, and he had picked up a new name, Edom.

Rebekah’s understanding of the prophecy seems to be shown as immediate. That is that Esau would have to serve Jacob and for that to happen Jacob would have to become patriarch of the family in place of Esau. Her plot to set up Jacob to obtain the blessing must have been based upon that assumption. In fulfillment, however, it was Edom that served Israel. Jacob never served as patriarch of the clan of Isaac. He was sent away to the house of Laban so Esau would not carry out his threat to kill him.

Scripture describes Esau as a cunning hunter and man of the field, and Jacob as a plain man dwelling in tents—a shepherd. The sale of the birthright by Esau was an act of arrogant selfishness. Trickery by Jacob had nothing to do with it, no matter what a bitter Esau said later. If the trickery and theft idea is taken out of Jacob’s acquisition of the birthright, which Esau is shown to have despised anyway, the whole concept of his character as a con-man, trickster and thief is called into question.

DEFINITION
Jacob means supplanter. The dictionary gives two main definitions: 1. To take the place of; replace and 2. To take the place of by treachery or trickery. Now we have already seen the prophecy: The elder shall serve the younger. And we have seen that Esau gladly sold his birthright for a meal with no trickery involved—a straight up business deal.

THE BLESSING
Let’s look closely at the circumstances surrounding how Jacob obtained the blessing Isaac intended for Esau: Rebekah overheard Isaac send Esau out for venison to prepare a meal over which he would confer the blessing. She told Jacob what was going on and told him to “obey my voice according to that which I command thee.” She told him to bring two kid goats that she could prepare a savory meal for Jacob to take to Isaac. But Jacob was reluctant; concerned about this deception that it could backfire and bring a curse instead of a blessing. She told him that if that happened “Upon me be the curse.” So in carrying out the deception of Isaac, Jacob was obeying the command of his mother who certainly thought that God needed her help in fulfilling the prophecy. In any case the deception was not Jacob’s idea. He was not even a wholehearted participant. He was afraid he would be found out. Here is the Scripture:

27:1 And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.
27:2 And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death:
27:3 Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison;
27:4 And make me savory meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.
27:5 And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.
27:6 And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying,
27:7 Bring me venison, and make me savory meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death.
27:8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee.
27:9 Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savory meat for thy father, such as he loveth:
27:10 And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.
27:11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man:
27:12 My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.
27:13 And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.
27:14 And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savory meat, such as his father loved.
27:15 And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son:
27:16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck:
27:17 And she gave the savory meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
27:18 And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son?
27:19 And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy first born; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.
27:20 And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me.
27:21 And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not.
27:22 And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
27:23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so he blessed him.
27:24 And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.
27:25 And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine and he drank.
27:26 And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son.
27:27 And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed:

From here through verse 30, Isaac proceeds with the blessing.

THE DIFFERENCE
Now hear the difference in approach between Jacob and Esau in bringing the meal over which the blessing was to be conferred. First Jacob:

27:18 And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son?
27:19 And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy first born; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.

Jacob cannot hide his character. He addressed his father and waited for him to respond. He said please sit and eat. His approach was mindful of the ill health of his father which was the very reason for the occasion of conferring the blessing. When Isaac asks who he is, Jacob answers “I am Esau thy first born;” Here is Esau:

27:31 And he also had made savory meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me.
27:32 And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau.

Esau didn’t think of his father’s condition. He came in and said let my father arise and eat of thy son’s venison that thy soul may bless me! Said as if the reason for the blessing was his successful hunt and well prepared meal. He had sold his birthright for a bowl of soup, showing open contempt for the responsibility that wealth brought, and yet thought the blessing was his by right. When Isaac asked who he was his response was, “I am thy son…” as if he was the only son that mattered.

He as firstborn should have heeded the tradition of returning to Padanaram when he took a wife. He not only didn’t do that, he took two Canaanite women as wives and later when he “found out” that they displeased his mother, he married a daughter of the tribe of Ishmael. Even though he knew that Jacob was being sent specifically to Laban’s house to get a wife that would be acceptable to Rebekah. Could he have sent a servant there to get a wife as Abraham did for Isaac? Of course! Would he? Of course not! He was the hunter! No one was going to pick his wife or wives, but him! Or, tell him where to find them!

This is more reason to see Esau as arrogant and spoiled. He assumed that his choices would please his parents because they pleased him, not because he knew or even sought to know their desires. His desires came first. They should be pleased with his desires because he was the firstborn son.

(Continued in part 3)

A new Look at Jacob Part 1

A fresh perspective on the third patriarch

PREFACE
Have you heard the Johnny Cash song “A Boy Named Sue”? While very humorous, it speaks of the effect a name can have on one’s life. When they finally meet, his father tells the boy it was his name that made him strong. He said, “I knew you’d have to get tough or die…”.

It has been years since I started this study on Jacob. Each time I have gone back to it more comes to light bringing into question the prevalent teaching concerning this son of Isaac. I believe he has been severely maligned. Not that I think he was a superhuman saint, but then again how many of the very best of the Christian men you know would wait seven years to marry the love of their life and consider it but a few days?

Take a fresh look at how Scripture paints him and you may be surprised! You may even wonder how he got such a bad rap. Of course you are free to disagree as a matter of conscience, but as serious students of the Word, we are called to let it speak. Are you up for a new look at a very old subject?

If the common wisdom is questionable concerning this man whom God renamed Israel, what else might we legitimately question about the “common wisdom,” and in doing so, gain? God says He will make foolish the wisdom of the wise. Most importantly, does following this line of reasoning lead us into conflict with God’s description on any point of Jacob’s character?
JACOB: THE BEGINNING
In Genesis 25, Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife Rebekah. She was barren. His prayer was answered and she conceived twins. They struggled within her and she asked of the Lord why this should be so. Genesis 25:21-26 {KJV) tells this story:
25:21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
25:22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
25:24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there
were twins in her womb.
25:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they
called his name Esau.
25:26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.

THE PROPHECY
Two nations: Israel and Edom. Two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels: the godly and ungodly, those turned to the flesh and those turned to the Spirit, those chosen by God and those not. One people shall be stronger than the other. The elder shall serve the younger. Please bear in mind that the prophecy concerning the brothers was given to Rebekah. Do you think it possible that part of the reason she loved Jacob was that she believed him to be chosen of God and as time passed she saw how he struggled to live down the name Isaac had given him?

THE NAME
Old testament names mean something and Hitchcock’s defines Esau as “he that acts or finishes” and Jacob as “supplanter; deceiver; the heel”. Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon defines Esau as hairy, and Jacob as heel holder. Verse 26 says “…and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel, and his name was called Jacob…”. This raises a series of questions! Was his act volitional? Was this act, coupled with the prophecy, the basis for Isaac naming him as he did?

Was his act volitional? I think not, he was only seconds out of his mother’s womb. Can you imagine a fetus in the moment of birth intentionally reaching out and grasping anything? His name brought with it an entire character description with which he was forced to live his daily life. If he didn’t adhere to the straight and narrow every minute, someone would say (as we have), “Yes, he really was a conniving trickster, cheating Esau like he did!” as if he had lived his whole life that way.
FITTING PIECES
Jacob lived under the cloud of his name and the arrogance of his brother, the cunning hunter! So, Jacob could certainly have been on the lookout for a way to prove beyond a doubt to his father that Esau didn’t deserve the devotion and favoritism Isaac displayed any more than he deserved to be named ‘heel grabber’, and when Esau came back from hunting that day “perishing” with hunger, and demanding that Jacob give him something to eat, Jacob took advantage of circumstances that would prove the contempt in which Esau held his birthright. He was acting out the view and attitude of the prodigal son’s brother, a very human response to growing up with an overbearing older brother who was father’s obvious favorite!
(Continued in part 2)

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Chapter Eight

The King of Tyre   Ezekiel 28:11-19

A very good statement of the orthodox position is at http://www.gotquestions.org/King-of-Tyre.html.  Here is an exerpt:

However, some of the descriptions in Ezekiel 28:11–19 go beyond any mere human king. In no sense could an earthly king claim to be “in Eden” or to be “the anointed cherub who covers” or to be “on the holy mountain of God.” Therefore, most Bible interpreters believe that Ezekiel 28:11–19 is a dual prophecy, comparing the pride of the king of Tyre to the pride of Satan. Some propose that the king of Tyre was actually possessed by Satan, making the link between the two even more powerful and applicable.
of-Tyre.html#ixzz3J3scesFV

Rebuttal:
The author says, ” In no sense could an earthly king claim to be “in Eden”…”.  Adam was in Eden and an earthly king since he was given dominion by God over “every living thing that moves on the earth.”  If being given that dominion does not qualify to make Adam an earthly king, I’m afraid nothing could!  So, an earthly king could claim to have been in Eden and the author’s assumption (or at least this part of it) is false.
The  author says, “…or to be “the anointed cherub who covers…”.”  God created man as the acme of His work.  He was created “in His image”; the most beautiful of all earthly beings; he was set apart from all other beings by one thing: into his nostrils God breathed the “breath of life”.  This statement of Adam’s creation is in chapter 2.  In his being, Adam carries the gift of life; a type of life that no other being has: spiritual life.
The carnal Adam is the cherub carrying–covering–the spiritual essence imparted to him as something to nurture and mature with the same selflessness and loving-kindness God had shown in giving carnal Adam paradise in which to live and the perfect mate and the imperative to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.  Thus, the covering cherub, the cherub with a mission to protect and serve: the elder shall serve the younger. If the reader will check out the etymology of the word cherub and angel, you will see for yourself the assumption is called into doubt!  So much for the author’s second assumption!
The author says, “or to be “on the holy mountain of God.””  Where or what is the “holy mountain of God.”?  The passage in Ezekiel places Eden on the holy mountain of God.  and refers to the “King of Tyre” as walking back and forth in it.  Again the only king in it was Adam!
The author goes on to say, “Before his fall, Satan was indeed a beautiful creature (Ezekiel 28:12–13). He was perhaps the most beautiful and powerful of all the angels. The phrase “guardian cherub” possibly indicates that Satan was the angel who “guarded” God’s presence. Pride led to Satan’s fall. Rather than give God the glory for creating him so beautifully, Satan took pride in himself, thinking that he himself was responsible for his exalted status. Satan’s rebellion resulted in God casting Satan from His presence and will, eventually, result in God condemning Satan to the lake of fire for all eternity (Revelation 20:10).

The author cites Ezekiel 28:12-13 as proof text for his assumption that “Before his fall, Satan …”  when in point of fact that text makes no mention of Satan at all.  He builds upon that assumption with, “He was perhaps the most beautiful and powerful of all the angels.”
Lets see, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/angel?&o=100074&s=t, gives these definitions for angel:

3.  a messenger, especially of God.  4. a person who performs a mission of God or acts as if sent by God: an angel of mercy.

So, just because one is referred to as an angel does not necessarily mean that one is: one of a class of spiritual beings; a celestial attendant of God.  To assume so is to place oneself in the land of speculation every bit as far as I am right now.  Difference?  I am not creating a pre-existent domain where, “Satan was the angel who “guarded” God’s presence.”
Guarded God’s presence from what?  How could a contingent, created, being, no matter how beautiful and knowledgeable possibly guard an omnipresent being?  I mean how could a pre-fall Satan possibly be on guard everywhere God is all at the same time?  And!  Why would an omniscient, omnipotent God need a guard anyway?!
Pride led to Satan’s fall; Pride led to Adam’s fall, he was not deceived!
I am working to keep the word of God consistent as the revelation of God to man, containing information about Who God is and who man is.  As well as accept that Jesus was telling it just like He meant it when He was asked why he taught in parables: Mark chapter 4:10 And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables. 11* He answered them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables, 12so that‘they may look and see but not perceive,and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.’” (From http://www.usccb.org/bible/mark/4)
Question:  If we are saved then why must we study to show ourselves approved?
I leave it here for now.