Monday, September 17, 2018

Jacob and Esau - Two Brothers, Two Nations in Conflict, Two Destinies

When Isaac’s wife Rebekah was pregnant with twins, she became concerned because the babies were struggling with each other in the womb. So Rebekah inquired of the Lord.

And the Lord said to her: Two nations are in your womb; two people will come from you and be separated. One people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” – Genesis 25:23, Holman

Her two sons represented two nations engaged in a cosmic struggle. Esau was born first and then Jacob came out grasping Esau’s heel. As the firstborn, Esau was first in line to inherit God’s promise given to his grandfather Abraham and then his father Isaac:

The Lord said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” – Genesis 12:1-3, Holman

From Abraham would come the nation of Israel and Jesus the Messiah, the savior of all mankind, who will return to rid the world of evil and establish a righteous kingdom on earth. Being the vehicle through whom God saves the world is a magnificent inheritance!

However, Esau was not interested. After returning from a hunt, Esau was exhausted and hungry and wanted some of the lentil stew that Jacob had cooked. Jacob asked him to sell his birthright in exchange and Esau agreed. “So Esau despised his birthright.” Genesis 25:34

That seemingly small incident has echoed through history. Esau came to represent people who do not value the promises of God for an eternal inheritance. For them, this world is enough. They are satisfied with this life’s fleeting pleasures – money, sensuality, power, fame, even a bowl of stew. They willingly trade the eternal for the temporal.

Jacob, on the other hand, wanted a spiritual inheritance. Jacob represents the people who value the promises of God for an eternal inheritance. They trust and worship God, knowing there is life and reward beyond our existence on earth:

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, coheirs of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” – Hebrews 11:8-10

The struggle between Jacob and Esau that began in the womb has continued through history. This is the perpetual conflict between God’s chosen nation, the spiritual Israel, and the worldly kingdoms that arise to oppose it.

Esau was the founder of the nation Edom and his grandson Amalek founded the Amalekites. The Amalekites were the first nation that attacked Israel after God brought them out of Egypt, but were defeated by God’s hand under the leadership of Moses and Joshua. Edom refused Israel safe passage through its territory on threat of war.

King David defeated and thoroughly subjugated Edom and placed garrisons throughout the territory. However, when David’s son King Solomon fell into idolatry later in life, God raised up the Edomite Hadad to harass the kingdom of Israel.

When Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon as a judgment for its rebellion against God, the Scriptures record that Edom cheered:

Remember, Lord, what the Edomites said that day at Jerusalem: ‘Destroy it! Destroy it down to its foundations!’” – Psalm 137:7

This was a fulfillment of the prophecy in Obadiah, which was spoken to Edom (Esau):

"You will be covered with shame and destroyed forever because of violence done to your brother Jacob. On the day you stood aloof, on the day strangers captured his wealth, while foreigners entered his gate and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were just like one of them." – Obadiah 1:10-11

In the story of Esther, Haman tricks King Ahaseurus of Persia into signing an edict to destroy all the Jews living in his kingdom. Queen Esther, who happened to be Jewish, exposed Haman’s plot and persuaded the king to sign a counter-edict that allowed the Jews to defend themselves on the appointed day of attack. In the end, the Jews prevailed over their enemies and Haman was put to death. Haman is identified in the story as an “Agagite.” The only other reference to the name Agag the Bible is to an Amalekite king. In other words, Haman, who tried to kill all the Jews in Persia, was a descendant of Amalek, grandson of Esau. Thus the back-and-forth struggle between Jacob and Esau continued.

Romulus, the founder of Rome, was also descended from Esau according to Jewish tradition. The legend of Rome’s founding tells a story of the twin brothers Romulus and Remus who were abandoned on the river Tiber, suckled by a she-wolf and then raised by a shepherd’s family. Later, they established the city of Rome, but quarreled, and Romulus killed Remus. Does this theme sound familiar? Twin boys quarreling, one wanting to kill the other? Notice also the similarity to Moses who was abandoned on a river in Egypt.

The Roman Empire grew over centuries and eventually seized control of Israel in the time before Christ. Esau had gained the upper hand. The Roman general and emperor Titus, also descended from Esau according to the Talmud, destroyed Jerusalem and the second temple in 70 AD, which was a second fulfillment of the prophecy in Obadiah above.

More than two centuries later, the Roman Emperor Constantine supposedly converted to Christianity and made it the official religion of Rome. Thus began the unholy mix of worldly power and religious authority that entered into the Roman Catholic Church. It carried on Rome’s spirit of empire through wars and conquests over the centuries – the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc. The Roman Catholic Church is actually a pagan religion and political empire beneath a veneer of Christianity. That’s why we see reports from around the world of the Catholic priesthood’s massive-scale pedophilia, homosexuality, abuse of nuns and occultism. It is a false mimic of Christ’s Church designed to lead people away from Him. But it is still Rome; it is still Esau.

Today the spirit of empire and opposition to God’s kingdom operates quietly and secretly from the scenes in the Catholic Church. I believe the Vatican is the prophetic second beast of Revelation and the Pope is the false prophet:

"Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; he had two horns like a lamb, but he sounded like a dragon." - Revelation 13: 11

The beast looks like a lamb (Jesus is the Lamb of God), but speaks like a dragon (Satan).

The Vatican is also the primary force advocating for the division of the Holy Land through the UN and various peoples and nations. It wants to take control of the Old City of Jerusalem and move the Vatican there, making Jerusalem the religious capital of the New World Order, which is the beast kingdom described in Revelation.

The Vatican will enforce the mark of the beast and worshiping of the image of the beast. Those who comply will never be able to repent and will go into the lake of fire.

When Jesus Christ returns, He will lead the armies of heaven to defeat the beast, the false prophet and the earthly armies that oppose Him:

Then I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and against His army. But the beast was taken prisoner, and along with him the false prophet, who had performed the signs in his presence. He deceived those who accepted the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image with these signs. Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. The rest were killed with the sword that came from the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.” – Revelation 19:19-21

In this way, Jesus will bring righteousness and peace to the earth and establish His rule from Jerusalem. Jacob will ultimately prevail over Esau.

Everyone in the world is either a Jacob or an Esau. This is our choice. A Jacob trusts God for an eternal inheritance in His Son Jesus Christ, but an Esau believes only in what this world has to offer.

“‘I have loved you,’ says the Lord. But you ask: ‘How have You loved us?’ ‘Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?’ This is the Lord’s declaration. ‘Even so, I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau. I turned his mountains into a wasteland, and gave his inheritance to the desert jackals.’” – Malachi 1:1-3

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