Israel exists today and many of us live in the most blessed, prosperous nations on earth because of the promises God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their faithful obedience” (Deut. 7:6-8).
Picturing Jesus Christ & His Church
To have the promised descendants, the son of promise first needs a wife. Abraham sent his trusted servant, probably Eliezer (“God his help”), a type of the Holy Spirit (the parakletos Helper, John 15:26) (Gen. 24). Rebekah is a type of the Church, the ecclesia—called out ones. Isaac served as a type of the Bridegroom, whom the bride had to accept unseen, who goes out to meet and receive his bride. Isaac gets married at age 40—which was very encouraging to me when I was in my 30s still trusting God to bless me with the right mate.
Years passed, with the couple never complaining or resorting to handmaidens. But finally Isaac “pleaded with the Lord for his wife” (Gen. 25:21). In the Bible “fervent” prayers “avail much” (James 5:16). They had patiently waited in faith 20 years for Rebekah to give birth when Isaac was 60.
Maybe they were too fervent because Rebekah delivered “two nations” when Esau and Jacob came out (Gen. 25:23). From birth they would compete for supremacy right on down to our day today. Jacob (“supplanter”) grabbed Esau the firstborn (“red, hairy”) by the heel!
Their relationships were strained by Isaac loving his hunter son Esau and Rebekah favoring Jacob the family businessman who was a cunning manipulator of people and events.
The deceitful Jacob tricked Esau into selling him the birthright. The faithless hunter “profaned” the spiritual blessing (Heb. 12:16) and valued it less than a hill of beans. All he got was a bowl of lentils.
Showing how a bad example keeps on going, ever ready to batter, Isaac blatantly lies to King Abimelech that Rebekah was his sister. The ruse was working until the King saw them “sporting” (Gen. 26:8, King James Version). The “siblings” weren’t expecting any spectators!
After Philistines would stop up one of his wells, Isaac demonstrated “turning the other cheek” by having his servants “Dig Another Well” (Paul Overstreet’s country song).
Later Rebekah pushed Jacob into tricking Isaac to give the family blessing to him while Esau was out hunting Dad’s favorite wild game. Goat skins wrapped around his arms and neck felt hairy enough to deceive the old blind patriarch even though he could hear it was Jacob’s voice (Gen. 27:22).
So the promises were passed on to the second-born Jacob like they were to the second-born Isaac. Rebekah said “Let your curse be on me, my son” (v. 13), and she never saw Jacob again after he fled from Esau’s threat to kill him.
Jacob saw a ladder in a dream that had angels ascending and descending it. God reiterated the Abrahamic promises to him. Jacob’s pillow became a sacred pillar stone—the Stone of Scone—which resided under the coronation throne in Westminster Abbey for 700 years but has recently been returned to Scotland on display at Edinburgh Castle. Jacob promised to tithe to God. (Gen. 28:22).
Jacob met his match in the wily Laban, Rebekah’s brother. After Jacob diligently served his uncle for seven years for the reward of Rachel’s hand in marriage, he wakes up the morning after his wedding night to discover it was Leah lying in his bed! How could he not notice! … Jacob must have been muttering to himself for the next seven years as he resiliently double-downed for Rachel.
When Laban said he couldn’t “give the younger before the firstborn (Gen. 29:26),” the word “firstborn” must have rocked Jacob for what he did to Esau.
The two women waged a baby race, enlisting their handmaids to conceive one daughter and 12 sons who would become the 12 Tribes of Israel. At last God removed Rachel’s barrenness and she delivered Joseph and Benjamin, Jacob’s two favorites.
God underscored His miraculous involvement with the Abrahamic Covenant by the fact that all three women (Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel) were healed so they could give birth to the promised lads.
Jacob followed Isaac and Rebekah’s bad example of favoritism and suffered a highly dysfunctional family.
For 14 years God had blessed everything Jacob did to make Laban rich. Now it was time for God to bless Jacob with herds of cattle and sheep as a reward for his maturing development in right character. Jacob started with only white sheep so Laban figured there was no way he could come up with spotted or speckled ones. He couldn’t. But Jacob understood that “my righteousness will answer for me” through God’s blessing (Gen. 30:33). Even as Laban changed his wages 10 times (Gen. 31:41), God changed the sheep born to be appropriately speckled or spotted to fleece the wily uncle and give his livestock to Jacob (v. 9).
On the way home to meet and reconcile with Esau, at Mahanaim (“This is God’s camp”), Jacob found himself wrestling with God—the preincarnate Jesus Christ. You’d think it’d be no contest, but to win the Word put Jacob’s hip socket out of joint. Still Jacob refused to quit until the Word would bless him! (Gen. 32:26).
The Word changed Jacob’s name to Israel (“prevailer or prince with God”). Jacob said “For I have seen God face to face” (v. 30).
God gave Jacob this huge promise that is a key to Bible prophecy and part of what the key of David (Rev. 3:7) means: Israel would become the greatest nation and a company of nations (Gen. 35:11). Spoiler alert: People can’t figure out why small nations are identified in the Bible but nothing is said about the greatest nation that has ever been—-the United States— and the greatest company of nations that has ever been—the British Commonwealth. Duh! That’s because people don’t believe what God plainly promised Jacob and what history shows He worked out!
And people haven’t been taught that Anglo-Saxon derives from Isaac. And that prophecies about Jacob pertain to more than Judah only (Israel in the Middle East). Jacob is headed for the worst trouble that has ever been (Jer. 30:7), and Jacob doesn’t know who’s about to get clobbered!
And wouldn’t you know it: the ones so totally blessed because of the faithful obedience of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are now being duped by the god of this world to turn against patriarchy.
Watch next Friday for
What’s It All About?