Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.
In our study of the past and future of Israel, we have seen that there were three important signs given to the Jews.
1. The sign of circumcision, a sign that Abraham would perpetuate the Jewish race, GEN 17:11, "And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you."
2. The sign of the virgin birth, pointing to the Hypostatic Union and the unique relationship that the Lord Jesus Christ would have with God the Father, ISA 7:14, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel."
3. The sign of Israel becoming a nation, manifested by the miracles of the ten plagues, EXO 10:2. In Revelation 12:1">REV 12:1, the "twelve stars" refer to the twelve tribes of Israel, who came from a man called Jacob. To better understand God's plan and His grace on behalf of the Jewish race, we need to look at Jacob and his father Isaac. Both men are great examples of Bible doctrine making a man out of a wimp, and even providing a place for him in God's "hall of fame," Heb 11.
GEN 27:1-2 Now it came about, when Isaac was old, and his eyes were too dim to see, that he called his older son Esau and said to him, "My son." And he said to him, "Here I am." And Isaac said, "Behold now, I am old and I do not know the day of my death."
Isaac is now 137 years old, his half-brother Ishmael has been dead for 14 years, and he thinks he is also dying; however, he will live another 43 years.
GEN 27:3-8 "Now then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me; and prepare a delicious dish for me such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die." And Rebekah was listening while Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game to bring home, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, "Behold, I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, saying, 'Bring me some game and prepare a delicious dish for me, that I may eat, and bless you in the presence of the Lord before my death.' Now therefore, my son, listen to me as I command you."
How unfortunate it is that Jacob is 77 years old, and he is still at home and still taking orders from his mother!
GEN 27:9-13 "Go now to the flock and bring me two choice kids [baby goats] from there, that I may prepare them as a delicious dish for your father, such as he loves. Then you shall bring it to your father, that he may eat, so that he may bless you before his death." And Jacob answered his mother Rebekah, "Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man and I am a smooth man. Perhaps my father will feel me, then I shall be as a deceiver in his sight [of course, he is a deceiver, but deceivers fear being discovered]; and I shall bring upon myself a curse and not a blessing." But his mother said to him, "Your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me."
All three instructions ("go now...," "bring me two choice kids...," and "bring it to your father...") are in the imperative mood, meaning orders and commands. Jacob is a 77-year-old "Momma's boy."
GEN 27:14-19 So he went and got them, and brought them to his mother; and his mother made a delicious dish such as his father loved. Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. And she put the skins of the kids on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. She also gave the delicious dish and the bread, which she had made, to her son Jacob. Then he came to his father and said, "My father." And he said, "Here I am. Who are you, my son?" And Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your first-born; I have done as you told me. Get up, please, sit, and eat of my game [being the liar that he is, he should have said, "My game of deception"], that you may bless me."
Jacob can lie and deceive very smoothly.
GEN 27:20-24 And Isaac said to his son, "How is it that you have it so quickly, my son?" And he said, "Because the Lord your God caused it to happen to me." Then Isaac said to Jacob, "Please come close, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not." [Appar-ently Isaac does not trust either of his sons.] So Jacob came close to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, "The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau." And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau's hands; so he blessed him. And he said, "Are you really my son Esau?" And he said, "I am."
Appropriately, the Lord says in MAL 3:6, "For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob [liars and deceivers], are not consumed."
GEN 27:25-28 So he [Isaac] said, "Bring it to me, and I will eat of my son's game, that I may bless you." And he [Jacob] brought it to him, and he ate; he also brought him wine and he drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, "Please come close and kiss me, my son." So he came close and kissed him; and when he smelled the smell of his garments, he blessed him and said, "See, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed; now may God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and an abundance of grain and new wine."
The Jewish fathers were given divine authority to pass down blessings.
GEN 27:29-33 "May peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you; be master of your brothers, and may your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, and blessed be those who bless you." Now it came about, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had hardly gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. Then he also made delicious food, and brought it to his father; and he said to his father, "Let my father arise, and eat of his son's game, that you may bless me." And Isaac his father said to him, "Who are you?" And he said, "I am your son, your first-born, Esau." Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, "Who was he then that hunted game and brought it to me, so that I ate of all of it before you came, and blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed."
Isaac now recognizes that Jacob has the blessing. He could have reneged on the blessing of Jacob, but the doctrine in his soul would not allow him to do so, HEB 11:20, "By means of doctrine resident in the soul Isaac blessed Jacob." He trembled "violently" because he realized the serious mistake he would have made by blessing Esau rather than Jacob.
GEN 27:34-36 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!" And he said, "Your brother came deceitfully, and has taken away your blessing." Then he said, "Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has supplanted me these two times? He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing." And he said, "Have you not reserved a blessing for me?"
Esau obeys Isaac, goes hunting, returns with the delicious meal his father loves, and tells no lies. Meanwhile, Jacob never leaves the house, and he substitutes a goat for the venison Isaac desired, willfully deceives his father, and even uses the Lord's name to do so; yet he receives the blessing. In fact, in Rom 9:13 we read, "Just as it is written, 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'" (This is an anthropopathism, ascribing a human emotion to God.)
GEN 27:37 But Isaac answered and said to Esau, "Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?"
Even though Isaac was old and blind, his spiritual eyes were now opened to the fact that God had overruled, and Esau was not God's choice. He could now recall what the Lord had said to Rebekah in GEN 25:23, "And the Lord said to her, 'Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples shall be separated from your body; and one people [the Jews] shall be stronger than the other [the Arabs]; and the older shall serve the younger.'" It takes a great believer to learn from being deceived that something he intended was not the will of God, and to refrain from bitterness. When we can learn from such an experience with no bitterness or anger, it is an indication that we have grown up spiritually. Isaac learned the lesson of ROM 9:16, "So then it does not depend on the man who wills [Isaac] or the man who runs [Esau], but on God who has mercy."
Concerning Esau, HEB 12:17 says, "For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears." The meaning of this verse is brought in GEN 27:38, "And Esau said to his father, 'Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.' So Esau lifted his voice and wept." The repentance Esau desired was not personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; he was yelling and crying, desperately trying to change Isaac's mind, but never could.
GEN 27:39-41 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him, "Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, and away from the dew of heaven from above [a prophecy that Esau would not participate in God's blessing as Jacob would]. And by your sword you shall live, and your brother you shall serve; but it shall come about when you become restless, that you shall break his yoke from your neck [there would come a time when Esau would break free, a form of blessing given to Esau by Isaac, as in HEB 11:20]. So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob."
In his acceptance of the disappoint-ment of Jacob getting the blessing over his favorite son Esau, Isaac shows us how to bear the conse-quences of making wrong decisions. At times the Lord will allow people who are close to us to hurt us, even unintentionally, to guide us onto the correct path, Psa 23:3, "He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake." We must not hate others be-cause of the pain they cause us. As Joseph said to his deceitful brothers in GEN 50:20, "And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."
The Lord can turn the curse of deception into praise toward Himself, PSA 76:10, 2CO 13:8, ISA 54:17. Throughout history there have been those who try to attack the people of God and prevent doctrine from being taught, but asEXO 1:12 says of the Egyptians persecuting the Jews, "But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread out."
Esau only saw the deceiver Jacob and vowed revenge; Isaac saw God's hand in the matter and trembled because he almost made the wrong decision. We can bear the pain inflicted upon us by others when we see that they are merely the instruments of divine blessing or divine chastisement. Unfortunately, to this day, the method of Rebekah and Jacob is largely adopted by religious people who believe that the ends justify the means. The destiny of all attempts to manage God's affairs by deception or misrepresentation is seen in the scheme of Rebekah and Jacob. After this ordeal, Jacob is disciplined for 20 years and Rebekah never sees her son again. They gained nothing and lost much. God had promised that the birthright would be Jacob's, and God would have given it to him at the proper time, but their timing did not line up with God's timing. Jacob had to flee for his life until his dying years, as is evident in GEN 47:9, "So Jacob said to Pharaoh, 'The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life.'" The sin of Rebekah and Jacob was the sin of assuming God had forgotten His promise or was unable to perform it. Their blasphemous plan was to take God's work out of His hands and try to do it better themselves. While each member of Isaac's family tried their own plans, God's purpose was still accomplished, as it always is, ISA 46:8-11. Jacob was a con-artist, yet God still chose him over Esau.
Upon the discovery of Jacob's deception, Isaac took a doctrinal stand, and for the first time in his life on record in Scripture, he acted in courage rather than cowardice. Esau had always been his favorite, but he realized that Jacob was a believer and that Esau, as an unregenerate unbeliever, could not partake of God's covenant. Even though Esau the unbeliever is genetically related to Abraham, he is not spiritually related to Abraham through regeneration, and so was rejected from the new racial species, ROM 9:6-13; ROM 11:26. The Apostle Paul writes in ROM 9:6, "But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel." This was a message to the Jews that in their first three generations, when the genetic structure of the Jew was established, that even though they have a physical advantage over all other races as the new racial species, this superiority means nothing without regeneration, which is necessary for the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant.
From this point on, Isaac the wimp was gone, and a real man took his place. Isaac had lived as a wimp in many ways, with the exception of his obedience to his father's authority on mount Moriah in Gen 22. Bible doctrine made Isaac the wimp a great man, carried him to spiritual maturity and entered him into God's hall of fame. Upon the discovery of the deception, Isaac stood his ground, and he stood on the principle of doctrine that he knew well-the elder would serve the younger. Therefore, no matter how much and how long Esau begged, he would not revoke the blessing of Jacob, HEB 12:16-17. A real man takes a doctrinal stand no matter what his feelings or emotions are; he sees the true issue and does not allows his pride to interfere. This was an act of supergrace nobility based on doctrine resident in the soul and is similar to the test of Abraham in Gen 22, although not as great as Abraham's test. Doctrine resident in the soul took precedence over his great love for Esau, his favorite son. Doctrine in our souls must take precedence over our love for any member of the human race. Doctrine in Isaac's soul even overcame being put down and deceived by his wife Rebekah, whom he loved dearly. Bible doctrine in the soul can change anyone's life and make anyone great.
Jacob is mentioned first in Rom 9:13, even though he is the younger, because he is a true Jew and he is the heir. The Lord Jesus Christ calls Himself by the great title, "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," EXO 3:6, MAT 22:32. He is the God of those who are born-again. He is the God of three generations who were not only racially in the same line, but also spiritually. They all followed the same pattern in regeneration. They were all colossal failures, yet they all became great men and died great men. Because He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He is faithful to us.
HEB 11:20 By means of doctrine resident in the soul Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come [things destined to be].
The Abrahamic Covenant is going to be fulfilled. These things are "destined to be" and are certain to be fulfilled. The Jewish race will continue and will never be destroyed. Through them God makes the statement, "I am the God of grace, and if I can preserve the Jewish race, I can take care of your problems." Isaac gave Esau all he could give an unbelieving son, but he could not give him the spiritual heritage. Isaac was a weak man all his life, but he became strong and decisive when facing the crisis of deception because he was prepared by the intake of doctrine. Isaac the weak wimp became Isaac the man of steel and strength. And Bible doctrine made the difference.
For a more detailed study, order last week's tapes, IA11-175 to IA11-176.