Rev. Heys is a minister emeritus in the Protestant Reformed Churches.
Last time we considered that work of God’s grace whereby He made a sharp distinction between Jacob and Esau, blessing Jacob even though he did not deserve it, and revealing that there was absolutely no blessing for Esau. We also noted that God very clearly revealed to Rebekah, their mother, that He determined before these sons were born that the elder son would serve the younger one of these twins. Esau, the firstborn, would serve Jacob, who came forth out of his mother’s womb with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel. In Genesis 27:29 we read that Esau would be God’s tool that would be used by Him for the good of Jacob. There we read about Jacob: “Let the people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s son bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be every one that blesseth thee.” Putting this verse together with the one God declared to Rebekah, before the children were born, we have an awesome and blessed truth. We also have here a clarification of that mother promise in Genesis 3:15. There will be enmity in the human race between believer and unbeliever, there called the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. Looking at the above verse, Genesis 27:29, in the light of verse 28, we have an important truth which we should never forget, and by all means never deny.
Yes – and do not overlook this fact-here already is the promise of the cross of Christ, and of our salvation through Him. The unbelieving Jews – the seed of the serpent – are going to crucify Christ, who is the seed of Jacob by a virgin birth (Acts 2:30 and Romans 1:3), and they will seem to have been victorious when they crucify this descendant of David, the One who is the seed of Jacob. But the struggle of Jacob with Esau, before they were born, does reveal the enmity that exists between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.
We do well, when dealing with these incidents presented to us in the day of shadows, to consider also that the truth in Genesis 3:15, and a fulfilling of it manifested in our God’s Word, namely through Isaac inGenesis 27:29, is still being fulfilled today. We are not living in the day of shadows of Christ’s coming as our Ring. He has come. And on His cross He had His “heel” crushed. What is more, Satan and his spiritual seed have already in a sense had their heads crushed. Legally our salvation has been realized. All the elect have been justified. All their guilt has been removed. Every elect child of, God – even those not yet born in our flesh, but eternally chosen in Christ, and in God’s counsel members of His body, the church – have that God-given right to live with Him in the coming new Jerusalem.
What is also extremely important is that we let God tell us what He caused to happen in the day of shadows. We must not, and may not, let the seed of the serpent, as tools of Satan (who came in that serpent in the Garden of Eden), explain to us what our God presents in His Word. We may not let the ungodly, unbelieving evolutionists explain to us God’s amazing work of creating this world in which we live. We must take hold of that mother promise in Genesis 3:15 and take hold of the truth that all the seed of the serpent -all those not born again by the Spirit of Christ – hate God!
Let us never forget that the human race is divided into only two different kinds of people from a spiritual point of view. They either love God as born again in His grace, or they hate Him as the seed of the serpent, and thus as Satan’s tool. There just is no grace of God upon Satan and his spiritual seed. There is God’s work of providence that may please the world, even though they hate God. But the whole human race has (as God declared in that mother promise of Genesis 3:15, namely, that there are from a spiritual-point of view, and thus in God’s judgment) only two kinds of people, namely, those born again and with the love of God implanted in their hearts, and those spiritually dead people who hate Him every minute of their lives here in His creation. Genesis 3:15, that mother promise, reveals God’s hatred toward the seed of the serpent. He declares that He will put enmity in the seed of the woman against the seed of the serpent and its seed.
In answer then to this evolutionistic stand that God created the world in six days in the sense of six periods of thousands upon thousands of years, let us turn to God’s law as He gave it to us through Moses at Mt. Sinai! God Himself tells us through Moses that in six days He created the heavens and the earth and all that they contain. How dare we change the meaning of the word “day” in that law? And did He rest that way the seventh day, that is, for a period of thousands upon thousands of years? But does He not command us to “remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy”? May we in God’s law change that word “day” to thousands upon thousands of years?
Still more, read that awesome truth our God gave us through Elijah in I Kings 18:21. He said through Elijah, “How long will ye halt between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.” Today that truth means, “How long will ye halt between what I said in Genesis 1-11 and in My holy law, and what the unbelieving seed of the serpent say about when and in how long a period of time I brought this world into being? Serve Me, or serve the evolutionists. You cannot serve both!” If you please, our God uses the same word for day in Genesis 1 as in Exodus 20 wherein He gives us His law.
Those evolutionists do not believe what we find in God’s Word. They do not believe what we find in Exodus 16, namely, that our God in six days of the week gave the Israelites manna in the wilderness, but not on the seventh day. And the striking and awesome thing is that on those six days the manna could not be kept to eat the day after God gave it. It would breed worms and send forth a terrible stink. Yet, on the sixth day the Israelites were to keep the manna for that seventh day; and there would be no worms in it, and it would not stink! Do the evolutionists believe this? No, a thousand times, NO! And shall we then, with them, say that these six days in the law must not be taken literally, but that those days, like the six days of creation in Genesis 1, should be explained to be long periods of years? Are there times when we may listen to the enemies of God, the evolutionists, and let them explain some of the things our God presents to us in Scripture? Still more, are we listening to God when we let the seed of the serpent tell us how to explain what God says? Did it help Adam and Eve to believe what Satan said through a serpent? Or was it not Satan who spoke through that serpent? And what about Revelation 12:9, namely, that “old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan which deceiveth the whole world”?
What will we do then with Hebrews 11? There we read about Abel, Enoch, and Noah, who are listed in the same category as are the believing saints. Is Hebrews 11:1-3 and Hebrews 11:8-40 the presentation of historical fact; but verses 4-7 what must be presented the way the unbelievers present them, namely, as names in a parable, a story, but not the presentation of literal reality? Are we then acting as believers, or as unbelievers who cannot and will not take God at His word?
But now, to return to what we first presented in this article, our calling is to hold on tightly to that truth which our God gave Isaac, namely, “Cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be every one that blesseth thee” (Gen. 27:29). Our God through Moses gives us this truth for our comfort, as He also wrote through Paul in Romans 8:28 that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
Esau was interested in the wrong things. He did say to his father, “Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me.” For him a blessing was the possession and enjoyment of this world’s goods. Fathers at that time usually gave their earthly possessions – or at least the largest part of them – to their firstborn son. And Esau was in such a position, as the firstborn of Isaac’s twin sons.
And what we should believe, and hold on to for our comfort, is that what counts is not what our flesh wants, as Esau’s did, but what our new man in Christ has been promised. Esau was, as he literally stated, interested in what his father could give him. And that meant earthly things which man’s flesh enjoys. He was not – as a child of the flesh that had not been born again with a new spiritual life -interested in that which he might use to serve God. He did not look at this earth with its material as that which we are given in order to serve God. He saw it as that which his flesh wanted. He saw it as Satan presented that tree of knowledge of good and evil to Adam and Eve, namely, that which would make them become gods. Get that! Satan did not teach Adam and Eve how to serve God, but how to become gods and do as they please with this earth and all it contained. Although our God told Adam that if he would eat of the tree of life he would die, and thus at once lose his spiritual life, Satan caused them to want what would enable them to separate from God, and no longer serve Him. That they would become gods meant that they could do as they please. They could and would turn their backs upon God and make Him, at least to a degree, serve them. They did not want any spiritual life!
Esau revealed this wicked desire; and his father, Isaac, trembled. Isaac knew very well that he could not change things. He could not promise Esau some of that which he had promised Jacob – and God did this through him -by taking some of it away from Jacob and giving it to Esau. Our God, the only God, is the I AM, which means that He never changes His mind. Isaac knew this and believed. He could not, and must not, try to change things. By God’s grace he saw clearly that God had chosen Jacob, and that Esau was rejected by our God.
Indeed, even as our God told Satan, in Adam and Eve’s hearing, that He would put enmity between the elect and reprobate, God now through Isaac expresses this enmity between Jacob and Esau and their seed. Esau was rejected in God’s holy wrath, and Jacob was blessed in His grace! Jacob, and we also in God’s grace, do not deserve the smallest part of a blessing because of what we did. Jacob sinned greatly here. But by His mercy our God blessed him; and also for us salvation is a 100% gift of God’s grace. We are saved by grace; and not because of our works. Salvation is God’s grace. We are saved by grace, and not because of our works. Salvation is God’s free gift to us.
Yes, Jacob’s name means supplanter, that is, one who follows after and replaces someone else. Jacob did not only follow Esau at his birth, holding on to his heel, but by God’s grace he supplanted him as far as the birthright blessing is concerned.
By the divine decree of our God, namely, of sovereign election, and not by what we have done, we receive that free gift of salvation, because of what He does, and not because of what we did.