Objections to Commentary w/Answers

I appreciate your response!  But you start off saying, “Your way believes that God can use evil tactics and deeds and hold humans accountable for them and not be blamed Himself.”  What evil tactics and deeds am I saying God uses?  He eradicated all mankind from earth save 8!  Because every intention of their heart was only evil continually!  Is that one of the evil tactics I am saying He uses?  Is that where you go when considering the power of the potter over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel to honor and another to dishonor?  That if God makes a vessel to dishonor it makes Him the ultimate Author of evil?  No.  That is why one must seek to understand His ultimate Purpose for us! SO,
Let me ask this:  What is the ultimate purpose God has in The Creation, given that man is indeed the acme of it? To me, our purpose is to be holy as He is holy, because we cannot live in His eternal kingdom unless we are. I am certainly not there yet and when Paul said in 1st Tim 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.   There are two parts of the saying, one Christ came to save sinners, and two, every sinner should consider himself chief among them.  That leaves no room for me to claim I am better than anyone else.  Off the subject!

You said, “Second, scripture no where says or teaches that we are free in the sense of being outside of God’s control, we live on the earth and are subject to all of its laws and sciences including death and have no control over those matters, but we are indeed free to make willing choices that have real effects. Sin is a choice and you are free to do so, including rejecting Jesus as Lord,. If we don’t have a choice, then we are basically fatalists and that our decisions and choices do not matter.” 
Is God’s control absolute?  Yes or No.  I do not claim God forces me to do evil.  Jeremiah 17:9 and Mark 7:18-21 speak very clearly of the condition of the unregenerate heart.  But throughout Scriptures It is made very clear that what man means for evil God can and does use to produce ultimate good.  We can’t outsmart God, we can’t outguess God, we can’t outmaneuver God.  Either He is in absolute control of man’s eternal destiny, or He has ceded control of that eternal destiny to a creature that has all the inate holiness of the serpent in the garden!  Since our relationship with Jesus is personal my eternal destiny is between me and Him.  It is not a corporate endeavor.  Unless of course you believe one must be a member of a church to be saved.  I do not, nor do I believe Scripture teaches that.

“Third, Why pray? God’s Word says to do so but if all is predetermined by God then what’s the use?
We are commanded to pray by a Sovereign God.  That should be enough of a reason.  But we are told in no uncertain terms that mostly we pray for the wrong stuff.  So what should we pray for? It isn’t as much what we should pray for as how we are to pray: in the spirit.  It is only then that we are in full accord with the will of God in what we are seeking.  It says those are groanings of the spirit that cannot be uttered.  That means they most likely do not have a vocal component.  I’m by no means an expert in prayer and I’m sure people are comforted by prayers offered up for them. Does God answer prayer that is contrary to His Will? No. Well, yes, but the answer is NO!

“Fourth, you quote Jeremiah 18:4-6 as a basis for the making of a man, the the true text is about the nation Israel. God sent him there to give him an object lesson for what was going to happen to them as a nation, not individuals.
I was not referring to Jer. 18:4-6 at all.  I was referring to Romans 9:20-22
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?  22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

Just Who fit those vessels of wrath for destruction?  When you worked construction, didn’t you use ‘expendables’?  Those were tools and bits and files and stuff that were good for their purposes, but were meant to be used up or destroyed so the ultimate plan could be completed.  Indeed the end result could not be achieved without them.  Do you believe God, in order to achieve His ultimate goal would not have need of anything like that?  It is not up to us to decide which is which.  Our job is to carry out the Great Commission.  In John chapter 6 it says hundreds turned away and followed Him no more.  But of all those He was given by the Father, He would lose none. So I did not give myself to Him until after the Father gave me to Him.  That decision was made before the foundation of the world!!
I think there is little doubt this passage is precisely about someone who questions the Sovereignty of God in His absolute right to use any part or piece of His creation according to the good pleasure of His will alone re:Judas and Pharaoh, re Jacob and Esau.  And it is no different for one to question the right of God in how He uses someone else.   i.e. It would not be fair of Him to decide if John Doe is saved or not without John Doe having a voice in it before He does either.  The problem with that line of thinking is it is refuted in the choice of Jacob over Esau: before they had done anything god or bad God chose re Romans 9:11.  If God can sovereignly choose in their cases, why can He not sovereignly choose in mine?  
My response to the call proves His choice. My choice does not force His response.
‘My response proves His choice. My choice does not force His response.’ also answers your fifth statement.  “It is the responsibility of man to repent and trust Jesus as Savior and Lord, God’s Word places the responsibility on the person in numerous places.  Ezekiel 18:23, 32, John 3:16 – 18, 2, Acts 16:31, Romans10:9-10, 13, 2 Thess. 2: 10 – 12, Rev. 22:17”
Regeneration precedes faith!
And it is only in faith one comes to Christ.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
By faith He IS Lord and Savior to us as we walk this sod!
The Book of Romans is our theological primer concerning the power of God over man and many other topics. It seeks to teach the proper use of reason in understanding God; an extremely lofty goal considering the depths to which its readership has fallen,

Again thanks for your response. Iron sharpens iron. 

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 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)