Theme: Sonship (Part 5)
(Key Verses: Gen 27:1-14)
In Genesis 27 we read about a very sad time which occurred in the household of Isaac and Rebekah. What started off as one of the most beautiful love stories in the scripture, is now turning into divisions and deceit. Although the two sons of Isaac and Rebekah, Esau the elder brother and Jacob, were already striving in their mother’s womb, this jostling intensified as time passed, and as they grew older, the separation between them increased as also did the parents’ love for these sons:
Gen 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.
Gen 25:28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
As time progresses and the trials of life increase, all these evil things which were once hidden and concealed in the hearts of mankind become clearer. Our old man is progressively revealed as not having any ability or capacity to receive “the things of the spirit of God” and cannot appreciate spiritual things. It actually sees spiritual things as foolishness when the natural man have preeminence in our hearts:
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Many cannot see that all physical things miss the mark completely when it comes to the spiritual things of God. Missing the spiritual mark of God is what sin is defined as in scripture (Jdg 20:16). This missing of the mark also applies to the flesh’s interpretation of who the firstborn is and why the right of the firstborn belongs to it, as prescribed in the law of Moses:
Deu 21:17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.
For those who can receive this principle, this double portion here indicates to whom rulership belongs – the son of the hated (the man of sin) or the son of the beloved (the sons of God). The flesh cannot see that it was never the firstborn of God, and it will therefore never rule over the spiritual sons of God. Only the sons of God will receive rulership over flesh (our own flesh progressively and in its final fulfillment during the thousand year reign on earth), and also the rulership in the spiritual age being fulfilled in the lake of fire (Rev 20). Here is why this fleshly man of sin is so upset when he cannot see the order of God which He ordained before the world began:
1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
The last Adam (Christ) is our life-giving spirit, and He is the true firstborn of the Father:
Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
This pattern is repeated in physical parables throughout the scriptures. The firstborn in flesh will always be the one that is rejected, and the second or last born is given the favourable rulership of God. Our fleshly motives and aspirations will always be shocked when it discovers that it does not carry any favour with God whatsoever:
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
In this discussion on the theme of sonship, this very important spiritual revelation of the right of the firstborn is driven to its climax in the household of Isaac and Rebekah. The house of Isaac is but a type of the household of God, as even in this household among the sons of God, comes times when spiritual vision and insight are lost, and a fall from the grace of God brings back the spiritual darkness which we thought could never happen. When spiritual insight is lost it becomes very obvious as we grow slowly back to being dependent on and attached to natural things, even when we justify our actions by the insights and laws of the natural mind:
Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
We are clearly warned through the many “ensamples” in scripture to think soberly of ourselves by not laying up a treasure for oneself and become self-confident instead of confident in the Lord (1Co 9:27; Php 3:13; Luk 12:21):
1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
1Co 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
True spiritual vision is what the spirit of God works with when that spirit teaches us how to compare spiritual with spiritual and then empowers and helps us to apply that to our own walk in this life:
1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
That is why the natural man who is enslaved in his own pride and lusts, will put up a fight for a spiritual inheritance he actually despises and sees as foolish. This losing of vision is also what happened to Isaac when he became progressively attached to the things that appealed to his earthly senses. These senses connected him to the things he loved, and they became his guides:
Gen 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.
Gen 27:2 And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death:
Gen 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 [Greek ABP+: thēra = a trap = Rom 11:9]
Gen 27:4 And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.
As with physical Israel and their blindness to the true election of the sons of God, Isaac’s table became his trap (Rom 2:28-29):
Rom 11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded
Rom 11:8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
Rom 11:9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them.
The words “his eyes were dim, so that he could not see” typify also Isaac’s lack of spiritual insight and heeding to the will of God in terms of God’s election criteria, which is always counterintuitive with our natural ways of understanding the election of God (1Co 1:26-29). In this instance, Isaac is used as a type of those who fall away from grace and are blinded not to see the true elect of God as they, like the physical nation of Israel, are yet again enslaved to the desires of the physical meat of Egypt and a renewed dependence on the laws that guides this world in their spiritual blindness (Gal 3:23-24):
1Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
To fall from grace is to reject the faith of Christ, and to go back to be justified by the elementary laws of flesh – to depend on our own understanding of God’s Word!
Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
The gift of the faith of Christ is what justify us before God, and that faith comes and grows in us through the true grace of God which chastens us and bring God’s righteousness to us.
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching [Greek: “paideuō” = chastens] us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
To fall from God’s is to reject the function of the grace of God in our lives, which actually helps us to get rid of these deceitful lusts and pride of earthly life. This rejection of God’s grace is also witnessed in our complaining and murmuring when things seemingly go wrong. Earthly things of this life and our natural lusts and pride will be taken from us when we die with Christ:
Mat 10:38-39 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
We are actually encouraged in the scriptures to rather grow in grace for a good reason:
2Pe 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
As in the household of Isaac and Rebekah, so will it be in the household of God, for the sole purpose to make manifest those sons of God who are approved by Him:
1Co 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
1Co 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
Before the birth of the twins, Rebekah did not understand what was happening inside her womb, and she went the right route to approach God directly for the answer, and God respected her and revealed His election to her:
Gen 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.
Gen 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.
The lastborn in the flesh of these twins, which was Jacob, was the one whom God had chosen to typify His firstborn in spirit, Jesus Christ (1Co 15:45-46). Rebekah, like Mary with the birth of Jesus, “kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” continually while Isaac, like the whole earth, was going after the venison of this world (Luk 2:18-19; Jas 1:14; Rev 13:3). Rebekah diligently heeded to those words, while it is clear that Isaac did not have the same conviction. He was led by his natural preferences instead of the spiritual fruit which God prefers (Gal 5:22-23). He seemingly forgot the pattern which God established even through him as the second born of Abraham, when he was given this favourable position by God. Isaac himself also suffered many trials and severe tests which included the mockery of his the elder brother, Ishmael (Gen 21:9-12). These lessons of these trials seemed to have been replaced by a spirit of lasciviousness in Isaac, but Rebekah remained focussed on the election of God:
Gen 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.
Gen 27:6 And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying,
Gen 27:7 Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death.
Gen 27:8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee.
The “voice” of Rebekah is the word she heard from God to which she was faithful and upon which she wanted Jacob to also act. Rebekah knew the truth that, from God’s perspective, Jacob was the rightful heir, not Esau, which Isaac sadly could not receive. While Rebekah was subjecting herself in all things to her head, Isaac, it is also true that if these earthly authorities go against the will and commandments of God, “we ought to obey God rather than men”:
Act 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them [the rulers, and elders, and scribes of Israel], Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
Act 4:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
Act 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered [the council…and the high priest] and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Rebekah did not openly disagree with her husband by confronting him with the truth, but in silence and fear she did what was determined and worked by God:
1Pe 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
1Pe 3:2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
Luk 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Luk 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
When the Scriptures say that God hated Esau, this hating means that He loves less, as God loves the spiritual much more than the physical creation:
Rom 9:10-13 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
Esau is the symbol of the physical creation through the first Adam, and Jacob represents the spiritual creation through Christ, the last Adam. From our earthly perspective we experience the first Adam as the beloved, but God sees just the opposite:
1Co 15:45-46 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
When we can love what God loves (which is His firstborn Christ), then we loose our love for this world and all that is connected to our fleshly Adamic nature. This true love of God is witnessed in the way we obey His Word, and recognize His true children:
1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
1Jn 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
This brings to mind how Abigail (who later in her life became the third wife of king David) also acted in the same way as Rebekah against the wish of her obstinate first husband, Nabal. Nabal refused to heed to David’s plea for food for him and his men after David actually protected the shepherds of Nabal. Abigail was given understanding by God to respect the request of David, who was the elect favoured king of God for Israel to replace the first anointed king of Israel, Saul. Nabal acted on the limited knowledge at his disposal and insulted David and despised David’s integrity, election and lineage – to Nabal’s own sudden demise (1Sa 25:10-11; 1Sa 25:36-38):
1Sa 25:18 Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.
1Sa 25:19 And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal [whose name means “fool”].
Rebekah’s name means “ensnared” or “ensnarer”, and this is important to note also in the way Rebekah acted to establish the blessing on Jacob. This is where Rebekah could not help herself getting entangled in ever increasing deceit and masterful evil trickery for a good purpose. These actions of Rebekah is not to be condoned, but it helps us to see how God indeed uses evil to achieve good purposes (God is the only one who can do this and not sin). The story of Joseph and his brothers bring this truth to us:
Gen 50:15-21 And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. 16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, 17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. 18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. 19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. 21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
Rebekah sent Jacob to the flock to get the two good kids to make the meal for Isaac:
Gen 27:9 Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth:
Gen 27:10 And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.
It was also through these two good kids of the goats from the flock that Isaac’s insight will be tested and revealed. Kids of the goats are not mature goats, which is very significant and used for our spiritual learning. In the parable of the goats and the sheep, the goats are not spiritually positioned on the right hand of God, but on the left hand of God as they are also representing the cursed of God:
Mat 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
Mat 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
Jacob obeyed the commandments of his mother as he was also aware of the way he had also deceitfully taken the right of the firstborn from Esau. Esau openly despised his birthright for temporary earthly things which satisfied his immediate needs:
Gen 25:33 And Jacob said, Swear [Hebrew: “shâba” = oath] to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
Gen 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.
Jacob knew all this, but is now concerned he might be caught out by his father and seen as a deceiver:
Gen 27:11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man:
Gen 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.
Jacob displays hypocrisy here, as we also act at times in the same way, when we forget that even the elect of God was once in “times past” exactly like the world in their behaviour:
Eph 2:2-3 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Jacob’s deceitful and hypocritical behaviour can be understood when we know that all of God’s true elect start out walking “according to the course of this world” in “times past” when they are the seed of the serpent and a son of our first father the devil or serpent, who were ordained by God to “bruise [Christ’s] heel” (Joh 8:44):
Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Jacob was in fact a supplanter whom God appointed to be the representative of the true firstborn, even as the words of Esau also reveals:
Gen 27:36 And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted [Hebrew: “âqab” = to seize by the heel/to circumvent] 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?
It is important to note that God’s elect have to go through their time in this world and “walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”. No son of God will continue to walk in this deceitful manner. Many use this as a justification to live deceitfully while claiming elect status. Again, let us be reminded that only God can use evil for His good purposes, and we are not to call evil good, meaning we are not God to think we can use evil to achieve good results:
Gen 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Isa 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
This behaviour of Jacob at this time of his life was written down for our admonition, not for our justification of sin (1Co 10:11). God’s elect for sure was “in times past” deceived as they also deceived others, but that “conversation” is not the case when the truth comes. Grace and truth comes when Jesus comes to our lives, even while we are dwelling in flesh:
Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
The indwelling spiritual Christ has come to separate His elect from dealing in deceitful ways, and His truth brings an end to all lying (Eph 4:15; 1Pe 2:1):
Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Heb 7:26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.
Rebekah’s role in this deception is also clear by her own words:
Gen 27:13 And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.
After this chapter 27 of Genesis, Rebekah and her life afterward are not even mentioned further in the scripture except for the place of her burial (Gen 49:31). Rebekah’s role reminds us of this woman in the book of Revelation who was also cursed to dwell in the wilderness, yet her son was taken up to be God’s elect:
Rev 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
Rev 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
Rev 12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
This represents the church in the wilderness who actually contributes to fulfil its role to establish the true church of God (Greek: “ekklēsia” – those who are called out of the called – Matt 22:14). This is why Jacob is also obedient to this mother:
Gen 27:14 And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved.
Next week, God willing, we will continue with this chapter 27 of Genesis.