Psalm 12:6 and Proverbs 30:5
FOREWORD3 days prior to the terrible terror acts in Jerusalem and Haifa on December 1st and 2nd the Lord urged me strongly to place my teaching on Jacob’s wrestling on the “Electronic Tabernacle.” I was just working on posting my latest newsletter on line which was of a first priority. The “Samael” article was far from my mind. However, the Lord’s urging became so strong I dropped everything and began to work day and night to create these pages.
Little did I realize that this teaching would become extremely relevant in only 3 days — when the monstrous terror attacks claimed so many innocent victims in just a few hours. Nor was I aware at the time that the pages would be posted precisely during the week in which the Parsha portion [weekly Scripture reading] is of Jacob wrestling with that “angel.”
All pages were placed on the web on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2001. Thanks be to G-d for ordering our steps!
The “Teaching” begins with page 02.“FOREWORD” continued
Please scroll to the end of this page, then click
on the page 02 button.
from an e-mail I sent to a friend April 1, 2001:
The only reason that I teach on the subject of Jacob’s wrestling at all is out of a holy jealousy for our Heavenly Father Who, by this traditional teaching, is being portrayed as a liar and One Whose promises cannot be trusted. Many people are not conscious of the significance of such interpretation. With my teaching I want to make them aware of it. However, some people have actually taken offense at my teaching and rejected me for it, even certain people who had called themselves my “dear friends.” Yes, the Truth is truly a two-edged sword, dividing spirit from soul…
In any event, before I get to the actual wrestling, let me lay some groundwork first in order for you to see WHY the teaching that it was an angel of G-D wrestling with Jacob portrays G-d as a liar. I hope you will get blessed by my teaching, and find your own discoveries and conclusions confirmed within the Scriptural context.
1. First of all, G-d entered into a covenant with Abraham, swearing by Himself and sealing it with heavenly fire, saying (in Gen. 15:17-20) “to your (Abraham’s) descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim (which were giants), the Amorites, the Cannanites (which included the Philistines), the Girgashites and the Jebusites.” G-d confirmed this covenant once more after Abraham had willingly given up Isaac, saying, “By Myself I have sworn…” (Gen. 22:16).
It is this covenant, which Yitzhak Rabin transgressed and for which he paid with his life, even as it is “prophesied” in that very portion of Scripture. For precisely in that week in which this [Scripture] Parsha was read in all of our Synagogues, Rabin was assassinated. Those versed in Hebrew and the Scriptures, found that by ignoring the spaces between the words and reading only the letters in verse 17 reads, beginning with the word “esh/fire” from the “burning lamp”: “esh esh ra ba rabin [hagzerim]” = “Evil fire fire into Rabin [G-d decreed].” Three bullets were fired, of which two were deadly.
The violation of THIS covenant, which G-d confirmed with an oath by His own Name and with heavenly fire (i.e. interposing with an oath of two unchangeable things through which it is impossible that G-d should prove false – Heb. 6:17), always will carry the most dire consequences for whomever breaks it, especially of course for the Jews.
2. G-d confirmed this Covenant to Isaac as a “sworn promise” in Gen. 26:3.
3. G-d confirmed this Covenant once more to Jacob BEFORE he became “Israel,” in Gen. 28:13-15, when G-d appeared to him at Beth-el standing above the ladder. Furthermore, G-d said, “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that of which I have spoken to you.”
These three sworn promises of G-d to the three patriarchs are reiterated in Psalm 105:8-11.
4. When Jacob deceived his father Isaac to obtain the patriarchal blessing, it was in response and obedience to his mother’s wish (in those days the word of a parent – whether father or mother – carried much weight). It hadn’t been his idea but his mother’s, Rebeccah, Laban’s sister. It is important to bear this in mind because it is Laban, his mother’s brother, Jacob’s uncle, who indeed is the cheater, liar, trickster and deceiver. The saying, “Are you an Aramean to me?”, in reference to cheating Laban, is still in use today.
Furthermore, this event took place AFTER Esau had sold his birthright to Jacob. Jacob and Rebeccah did not just “out of the blue” decide to “steal” it from Esau (as is frequently taught). No, rather, Esau had already ceded it to them with his actions, by essentially despising his birthright and the patriarchal blessings he was to receive. These things weren’t worth more to him than a plate of lentils.
Esau was a creature of impulse who, in the heat of the moment, gave no thought to value and consequences. Thinking he could have the pot of lentils AND the blessings He took the whole matter rather lightly because, of course, the father would bless HIM and not Jacob. So, what did it matter if he “sold” his birthright now? He did not take it serious — but Jacob did! It is THAT what G-d saw, what made Him “love” Jacob and “hate” Esau.
Jacob knew of the promise G-d made to his mother in Gen. 25:22-23, saying, “… the elder shall serve the younger.” Jacob not only knew of it but also believed it, as did Rebeccah. Fearful that G-d’s purpose could get swarted, Rebeccah rushed to “help” G-d a little to fulfill His promise by talking Jacob into the deception (see Gen. 27:5-14).
And you know, Diane, sometimes I get a little indignant at self-righteous Christians who pass judgment on Rebeccah and Jacob, while they themselves have done the same thing — “helping” G-d a little along in fulfilling the promise. Rebeccah and Jacob acted from faith. (For it is impossible to please G-d apart from faith, wherefore G-d also says, “Jacob I have loved, but I have hated Esau” – [Mal. 1:2-3; Ro 9:13] – because Esau was an immoral and irreligious man [see Heb. 12:16-17], guided by carnal desires and impulses rather than by faith). Abraham and Sarah also had “helped” G-d a little with the promise by Sarah giving Hagar to Abraham, to have the promised son by her.
All these wonderful and great saints were also very human, something most comforting to me, as it assures me that I, too, have every chance in Yeshua despite shortcomings and failures. Feeling superior to Rebeccah and Jacob is somewhat insincere and pharisaic, because then we fail to see our own shortcomings. Yet, we are to judge ourselves first, before we look for the splinter in the eyes of others.
5. Jacob’s “transformation” did not take place only at the time of the wrestling – as is routinely taught in the churches – but already during his years of service at Laban’s. The transformation of Jacob, the “supplanter” of his brother, was very sudden and extremely painful. It occurred in the night when Leah, older sister of Rachel, “supplanted” Rachel in the bridal bed. Jacob had labored for Rachel 7 years, but because he loved her so much they “seemed to him but a few days” (Gen. 29:20),.
In the morning after the wedding night the realization that he had been terribly tricked and cheated out of his rightful bride, struck Jacob with numbing force. It was a blow so terrible it “converted” Jacob instantly from the cheating supplanter into the most honest man on the face of the earth. It was NOT because Laban had cheated HIM, but because he suddenly realized the enormity of the deception he had committed against his father and brother.
This realization – experiencing the very thing he himself had done in his own person now – totally overwhelmed and crushed Jacob. He was undone by it, and his repentance went to great extremes as is clearly seen by his actions following this experience. This repentance, deep remorse, grief and guilt over his own actions toward father and brother contributed to his willingness to agree to Laban’s deal to serve him for an additional 7 years in order to get Rachel as his wife after all.
As we follow Jacob’s story, we discover that for the 14 years in which he served Laban, Jacob had gained no possessions for himself. He had the two wives, the two concubines, and his children, but no possessions, because all belonged to Laban, his father-in-law. When Jacob wanted to return home, having completed his agreed upon service (still penniless, mind you!), Laban urged him to remain because he had learned by divination, that G-d blessed his household on account of Jacob. Indeed, he had had little before Jacob came to him (one of the factors pointing to this is that his daughter Rachel, the younger of two daughters, was keeping his sheep. Laban had no sons at the time, and only few sheep). So he said, “name your wages, and I will give it” (Gen. 30:25-28).
Thereupon Jacob reminded Laban of his faithful service, how Laban’s possessions had increased abundantly because the L-RD was blessing Laban on account of and by Jacob’s work, and then asked: “But now when shall I provide for my own household also?”
This was Jacob’s situation. He had made no extra demands, but just worked hard for his two wives.
Now, let me make it short. Laban said, “What shall I give you?”, and Jacob replied, “You shall not give me anything.” Then he struck a deal with Laban that he, Jacob, would seek out all the spotted and speckled among the sheep and the goats. These would constitute his wages. This kind of sheep got the lowest price on the market, because people wanted the pure white wool, not the streaked and spotted.
Then Jacob said, “So my HONESTY will answer for me later when you come to look into my wages…” Jacob now spoke of his honesty because indeed he practiced an honesty that bordered on self-deprivation.
Laban agreed to the deal, but that same day removed all such animals as agreed upon and put them in charge of his sons (here we learn for the first time that Laban had now sons also), and furthermore removed them from Jacob a 3 days’ journey. Laban was and remained the “trickster” and “cheat”, yet it is Jacob who has been accused of being that since the Exodus from Egypt.
Now from the Scriptures we learn how honest Jacob was, and how G-d was with him at all times. Jacob called Rachel and Leah to come to him in the field, away from Laban’s ears, and there he told them about their father, and that “the G-d of my father has been with me… your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but G-D did NOT PERMIT HIM TO HARM ME.” Whatever Laban said should be Jacob’s wages, whether the spotted or the streaked, that’s what all the flocks bore. Because the Angel of the L-RD had appeared to Jacob and shown him the “trick” with the rods taken from the almond, poplar and plane. And the Angel said to him, “I AM the G-d of Beth-el, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me… return to the land of your birth.”
When Laban pursued fleeing Jacob to take everything away from him, Jacob repeated his claim that “… you [Laban] have changed my wages ten times. IF THE G-D OF MY FATHER, THE G-D OF ABRAHAM AND THE FEAR OF ISAAC, HAD NOT BEEN ON MY SIDE, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. G-d saw my affliction and the labor of my hands, and REBUKED YOU LAST NIGHT.” For G-d had spoken to Laban in a dream saying, “Take heed that you say not a word to Jacob, either good or bad.” Therefore Laban said to Jacob, “But WHAT CAN I DO THIS DAY to my daughter, or to their children… [i.e., to Jacob]?” (Read the whole story from Gen. 30:30-31:1-54).
Indeed, he could do nothing to Jacob to harm him, because Jacob was G-d’s chosen, and G-d was with him according to His oath and promise.
So, my dear Diane, now that I have laid this groundwork for you that you may clearly see where G-d was standing with Jacob, and Jacob with G-d, we proceed to the wrestling, an account which, I believe, has been misinterpreted and thereby misrepresented G-d for many centuries.
You see, it is because of the image that “Rome” has painted of the Jew that Jacob has been pictured as this base trickster and greedy cheat who, having finally arrived at his wits’ end, was confronted with the angel of G-d, and in this wrestling experienced his “conversion.” Folks have taken offense at my teaching simply because they are unwilling to see and accept Jacob as the honest and holy man Scripture depicts him as having become while laboring in Laban’s service.
Through the years I have observed in Churches and in Sunday schools how Jacob is being pictured in the minds of many people: the little, bent-over Jew with the typical “Jew” nose and chin, tricky, cheating, manipulating, and greedy. Never mind that Scripture speaks of Jacob as a very handsome man (Gen. 25:27). The word describing Jacob is “tam” – Strong’s Concordance 8535 – meaning especially “finished and complete.” This word is also used in prayer, blessings and modern Hebrew. The word implies “perfection” – both physical and spiritual – because it is especially used in connection with the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple, in anticipation of the Messianic Reign, the reign of “perfection.”
I.e., Jacob was not merely a “plain” or a “quiet” man who happened to be of smooth skin, but one whose “perfection” became such that it was “complete,” because it was BOTH physical AND spiritual. “Tam” also means “pious,” and despite teaching to the contrary, Jacob was INDEED a “pious” man, namely a “man of faith.”
In addition to that he possessed great strength (see Gen. 29:1-10; 31:35): the account of his rolling a large stone from off a watering well – which usually took 3 men to roll away – attests to that, as well as the story of his setting up a large stone as a pillar for a witness between him and Laban. The hardship of tending to the flocks day and night, regardless of weather and beasts, also testifies to his enduring strenth.
Furthermore, Jacob grew exceedingly rich (Gen. 30:43) because G-d blessed and prospered him in accordance with G-d’s OATH and PROMISE, and NOT because Jacob was manipulative and greedily hording every coin. He was on his way back to the promised land in obedience to G-d’s command (31:30), when he was met by a group of angels (these being indeed angels of G-d), whom Jacob recognized at once as a “camp of G-d,” and called that particular place (ha’makom ha’who) “two camps.” They met him upon entrance into the Promised Land.
And now, Diane, may this my teaching help you see more clearly Jacob, the champion of G-d and prince and heir, ISRAEL, patriarch of a people from whom the Messiah has come. The children of this Patriarch are Israelites, Champions of G-d as well, Contenders for the Divine, conquering by strength from Above. It is this people whom Satan has been and still is desperately trying to destroy.
May you be a lover and defender of the Truth, and while not making an issue of this teaching and not allowing yourself to be drawn into a controversy over it, be ever a defender of the holiness of our G-d’s Name, who stands for justice and righteousness, Truth, Love, Faith, Hope, Light, Goodness, Kindness, Mercy, Compassion, and so much more. G-d does not change! It grieves and offends me when He is being misrepresented, just as Job’s “friends” also did. Had it not been for Job interceding on their behalf, it would have gone ill with them.
That is also the reason why we should teach on this “wrestling of Jacob,” that it may not go ill with those who keep misrepresenting our Heavenly Father. However, I repeat it once more, do not enter into a controversy over it, nor take offense at those who won’t accept the teaching but rather reject it, and you on account of it. Only pray that the Lord may open the eyes of their understanding.
G-d bless, and keep you in His Truth for Life.
Yours in Yeshua,
Jacob’s Wrestling with an Angel
Genesis 26:2-4; Hebrews 6:17-18; Romans 11:28-29; Gen. 28:13-15; 25:22-23; 32:1-13, 22-30; Ephesians 6:12; Luke 10:19; Hosea 12:3-4
Purpose of this teaching:
A) To present an interpretation consistent with: G-d’s faithfulness; the context of the story; New Testament teachings and our own, personal experiences.
B) To demonstrate that correct interpretation is only possible by carefully examining the original text rather than a translation of the original .
Motif for the teaching:
A) Out of jealousy for our Heavenly Father, it grieves me that G-d is thought to be acting like man Whose word cannot be relied upon and Whose oath is not trustworthy. G-d does not say one thing and mean another; nor does He promise something in His own Name and then retract it; nor must we beg Him to bless us AFTER He has already PROMISED to bless us.
Just as Job’s friends spoke falsely of G-d, so do I regard as false teaching the notion that it was a holy angel of G-d, or even the Lord Yeshua Himself, that fell upon G-d’s chosen. It was no “godly angel” but some “divine being” with intent to harm. Any other teaching misrepresents the G-d we know.
First, let us review the context which pronounces God’s earlier promises of blessings :
Genesis 26:2-4 (KJV): And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
26:3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
Hebrews 6:17-18: Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
Romans 11:28-29: … but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (irrevocable).
With an oath in His own Name, G-d promised Abraham a specific inheritance, which He confirmed and made certain by another oath, to Isaac.
Finally G-d confirmed this same promise to Jacob. This He did at a time when Jacob was uncertain of the future. Jacob was seeking refuge with his uncle Laban in Haran from his brother Esau who wanted to kill him. Jacob did not know what to expect from his uncle. Would his uncle even receive him? How would he fare in Haran, and how long would he have to stay there? The future seemed greatly uncertain for Jacob. That is when G-d appeared to him in a dream to comfort and encourage him and remove all uncertainty about his future:
Genesis 28:13-15: And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
28:14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
28:15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
G-d confirmed to Jacob in no uncertain terms that he – not his brother Esau – was indeed the heir of the promise and the blessing, despite the fact that Jacob had obtained the patriarchal blessing for the firstborn by stealth. For the struggle between the two brothers – a struggle that reverberates into our very own days – and G-d’s choice of Jacob, began already when still in Rebeccah’s womb
Genesis 25:22-23: And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD.
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.
Even though G-d confirmed Jacob’s position of the firstborn, the method by which Jacob obtained it did not please G-d. The time would come when G-d would give him a taste of his own deception. Already the consequences of his deed were bitter – although committed by faith in G-d’s promise to Rebeccah – because Jacob had to leave his home and clan in flight for his life from Esau’s murderous wrath.
Nevertheless, Jacob was comforted by G-d’s assurances. Although he was heading toward uncertain future, G-d had promised to be with him and keep him, and one day to bring him back home. Renewed and strengthened, Jacob continued his journey, trusting that G-d would work everything out for good.
Hence, this is the background we must bear in mind. Moreover, throughout 20 years, G-d’s promise and faithfulness proved sure and true. For Jacob himself said:
Jacob is the Chosen of God
Genesis 30:5-13: And [Jacob] said unto them [his wives Rachel and Leah], I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me.
31:6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father.
Genesis 31:7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.
31:8 If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstreaked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstreaked.
31:9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.
31:10 And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstreaked, speckled, and grisled.
31:11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said,
Here am I.
31:12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstreaked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.
31:13 I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.
Genesis 31:41-42: Thus have I been twenty years in thy house [uncle Laban]; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.
31:42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.
It is evident from Jacob’s words that G-d not only kept His promise of blessing, but also watched out for Jacob by sending an angel when Laban tried to cheat him. This angel was indeed an angel of G-d, whose mission was to HELP the chosen of G-d, Jacob.
Likewise, when Laban followed Jacob in hot pursuit, (see Gen. 31:29, 43), G-d protected Jacob.
From the very onset of Jacob’s flight from Esau G-d dispatched His angels to accompany and protect Jacob. For in Jacob’s dream of the ladder at Beth-el G-d’s angels are ASCENDING and descending; i.e. they were with Jacob where he laid, went up the ladder to G-d and were sent back down to Jacob.
Why, then, would G-d suddenly change His mind and attack Jacob in the blackness of night? How can one teach – and believe! – that G-d promises blessings one day, while the next day He tries to kill us? If G-d would prove that untrustworthy, how could one ever hope in any of His promises? How can one speak so falsely of the G-d whose steadfast love endures forever, whose faithfulness extends unto the heavens, and Whose promises are sure?
G-d’s disposition toward Jacob was made absolutely clear: benevolent, supporting, comforting, blessing, steadfast in faithfulness and love. G-d’s choice of Jacob as heir of the promise and His blessing on His chosen were SURE. Jacob did not entertain any doubt in his heart concerning the certainty of G-d’s blessings. G-d doesn’t say one thing today and tomorrow another, like a man changing his mind whimsily.
What Jacob was not sure of, was his brother Esau. It could be expected that Esau would either try to kill Jacob, or by some other means, expropriate Jacob as heir. There was much uncertainty regarding Esau and his disposition toward Jacob. What was sure, however, were God’s blessing and promises.
Let us continue with the narrative.
Upon the entrance into the “promised” land Jacob was met again by angels (again, these angels were G-d-sent “messengers”) who are clearly identified as being angels of G-d. Jacob recognized them as being “G-d’s army!”, a “camp of G-d” sent to support him in his return.
Unfortunately, Jacob sent these divine messengers on a mission contrary to G-d’s affirmation of Jacob as heir. Jacob dispatched them with a self-abasing message, which said (32:4), “Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus…” Yes, Jacob was sure of G-d’s benevolence, but not of his brother Esau’s. He addressed him as “my lord,” abasing himself as “your servant.” However, G-d had already confirmed Jacob’s birthright, and from the womb declared that the elder brother would serve the younger. Why then did Jacob waver and contradict G-d’s words?
Hence the angelic messengers did nothing on Jacob’s behalf and merely told him upon return: “We came to your brother, to Esau. Moreover, he is heading toward you, and four hundred men are with him.”
Gen. 32:7: Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed!!!
Jacob received no answer from him whom he called “my lord,” to whom he lowered himself as “servant.”1 ∗ He was brought only a message of distress. Had Esau responded to Jacob’s debasing message, Jacob would have become like a worm in the dust before a most ignoble and hateful “lord.”
G-d prevented that!
It was better that Jacob suffered momentary distress and FACED his enemy, than become subservient to a vile and ignoble creature who despises the Almighty, and whom G-d hated.
Many of us too have faced such acute distress… I am intimately acquainted with it. Yet G-d never removed it from us but brought us through it, perfecting absolute trust in Him.
Jacob HAD to pass through it as well, for without it he could not have become Israel, the mighty Patriarch Israel, after whom his offspring is called. Jacob was facing his “valley of the shadow of death,” where he would learn to fear no evil. G-d was indeed with him, even though He seemed absent momentarily. G-d would indeed guide him through with Rod and Staff. And despite Jacob’s apparemt weakness and fear, his greatness, power and self- discipline prevailed: Refusing to throw up his arms in helpless despair Jacob prepared to meet his enemy — face to face.
Hence, Jacob did not presume upon G-d for his deliverance (although he certainly hoped and believed in it), but made calculated preparations to the utmost of his ability. Sitting back, doing nothing and merely waiting for a miracle is presumption while faith is doing our utmost (unless G-d says otherwise) all the while trusting and hoping in HIM.
1 Isaiah 51:23; ∗For Jacob has only One Lord, the Lord G-d Himself, and His Servant alone is he. Would, that Israel of today would finally understand this and stop lowering himself to American Presidents and European Union leaders.
Jacob divided all that he had into two groups with his wives and children in the latter group. Should Esau attack one group, the other would escape. Jacob knew, assured by G-d’s oath to Abraham and promise to Isaac, that not ALL of his posterity could be destroyed by Esau. Even if one camp fell, the other would certainly survive.
This, in fact, has been the history of the Jewish people. “Never has Esau’s sword fallen upon us in one full swoop. When we bled on the Rhine, our brethren in the Slavic lands were safe, and vice versa…” By scattering us among the nations G-d has yet preserved Israel. Praise God!
And so Jacob became two camps — yet one people, one name, led by One G-d.
Now these camps would meet the raging enemy – not unknown – but still faceless. The first camp of mixed Gentiles would go before the second camp of Jacob’s children. Both camps contained the fruit of Jacob’s labor, the blessings of G-d upon his toil. Truly, there are two camps of Jacob, two who belong to Israel: one consists of the descendants of his loins; the other of righteous Gentiles.
Esau, then, is their COMMON enemy.
After taking his first precautionary steps Jacob prayed, aware that all his carefully calculated measures were useless if G-d was not with him in this battle. One action compliments the other. Preparation must always be preceded and accompanied by prayer, and vice versa. Faith without action is quite useless, and so are actions without faith.
Genesis 32:9 (RSV, easier to read): And Jacob said, “O G-d of my father Abraham and G-d of my father Isaac, O L-RD who didst say to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, and I will do you good,’
32:10 I am not worthy of the least of all the steadfast love and all the faithfulness which thou hast shown to thy servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan; and now I have become two companies.
32:11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, lest he come and slay us all, the mothers with the children.
32:12 But thou didst say, ‘I will do you good, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.'”
Jacob established a pattern of prayer followed by Israel ever since. First he addressed G-d by the names, “G-d of my father Abraham” and “G-d of my father Isaac,” in reference to G-d’s appearance to him at Bethel. By mentioning those names Jacob subtly reminded G-d of His promise, given when Jacob fled from Esau. Jacob also called upon G-d with His unutterable Name, which refers to G-d’s particular attribute of Mercy, and which Name G-d spoke to Jacob when Jacob feared Laban. Now, once again fearful for his own life and the lives of his loved ones, Jacob appealed to G-d in all those names, which contain all of G-d’s promises.
Next he reminded G-d of His own words and instructions to Jacob by reiterating them. By that Jacob implied that he and his two camps were now in dire straits because he had embarked on this journey in strict obedience to G-d’s own command. What Jacob really said was: “Because I have obeyed you, I am facing mortal danger. According to your promise to me, please get me out of this mess. This is really YOUR battle now. For you promised to do ME good”.
The first two points of Jacob’s prayer placed “the ball” squarely in G-d’s court. He followed this pattern also with point number three. All the while, however, Jacob maintained a meek and contrite spirit, acknowledging how greatly he had been humbled by the exceeding great kindness and faithfulness G-d had shown him even though he had tricked both father and brother. Jacob’s awareness of how extremely undeserving he was of G-d’s abundant goodness toward him, produced in him a deep sense of humility and meekness. In the Hebrew Jacob literally said: “I have become SMALL FROM all your kindnesses…” That in the presence of such great kindness his own merit became as nothing – worthless. Thus, in the Presence of the Holy One Jacob was “diminished” to meekness, and became “small” in his own eyes.
Once again Jacob recognized – Point # 3 – that it was ALL G-d’s grace and mercy :
G-d promised, point #1; G-d commanded, point #2. G-d gave, point #3.
Point #4 is Jacob acknowledging what G-d DID. For when he fled from Esau Jacob crossed over this river [Jabbok] – at which he was now encamped – with just his staff in hand. Now, as he was returning in obedience to G-d’s command, he was no longer alone but had become two companies, or camps. Once again Jacob confessed that this was NOT his doing but G-d’s alone Who had DONE what He had promised.
Only after these reminders of Who G-d was and His great promises, and Jacob’s recognizing his own worthlessness and lowliness vis-a-vis G-d’s great goodness and wonderful works, the petition follows.
Jacob’s petition is point #5: It establishes a pattern of prayer. It is specific and concise, and not an uncertain ‘IF it be Thy will, Lord.’ He goes straight to the heart of the matter, point after point:
“Rescue me, please…!”
Asking merely to be rescued is an ambiguous request. So Jacob continued:
“…from the hand of my brother…”
Which brother? In Hebrew the word achi – my brother can also mean my kinsman in general. So which one?
“…from the hand of my brother… Esau…”
Now, this details more specifically from whom Jacob desired to be rescued. But — he did not state yet WHY he desired G-d to rescue him from Esau. He needed to specify the reason of the need:
“…for I fear him…”
That was a good reason. But what kind of a fear? And why did he fear Esau? Was Jacob’s fear reasonable?
“…I fear him lest he come and strike me down…”
That’s a pretty reasonable fear. Still, its only for self, or is it?
“…lest he come and strike me down, mother upon children…”
This prayer is an excellent example of what Paul the apostle referred to in Philippians 4:6, when he instructed not to be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer, supplication and petition, with thanksgiving, to make our specific requests known unto G-d.
Having made this very explicit request, Jacob concludes with two more reminders. Both promises were not made to him personally, but to his grandfather Abraham. For Jacob did not say, “and you had said to me…,” but “and you had said…”:
“I will surely bless you, and do you good and I will make your offspring as numerous as the sand of the seashore…” The place of this promise was Mt. Moriah where Abraham had been ready to offer up Isaac to G-d. It is G-d’s irrevocable promise and oath – point #6 and #7 – to Abraham that Jacob is referring to in the conclusion of his prayer. I.e., G-d was literally BOUND to rescue Jacob, for reason of this oath. He might not even consider rescuing Jacob for a promise made to him. But G-d could not go against His own oath, made to His friend Abraham. And it was not Esau, but Jacob who was the established heir of Abraham.
Or was he?
The background picture for the title is from www.MessianicArt.com
The Night and Time of Jacob’s Trouble
1. A GIFT OF APPEASEMENT
As the narrative proceeds, Jacob suddenly seems no longer so sure… of his inheritance. What happened to his unflinching faith and trust in G-d? This enemy Jacob was preparing to face was unlike anything Jacob had ever encountered. THIS adversary was Jacob’s worst enemy, the greatest threat to HIMSELF, his posterity, the promise of birthright and blessing of inheritance. Neither before nor afterwards did Jacob ever again succumb to such fear and uncertainty.
This was a formidable adversary!
Jacob set about to appease him.
From the fruit of his labor he arranged a most generous gift.designed to satisfy Esau’s greed and pacify his rage. If the brother would be duly impressed — hopefully it would buy Jacob not only time and a cooling of the murderous hatred, but also save the lives of his family and servants †.
It had taken all day to put his gift together – droves of the choicest animals – with the same instructions to each of the servants, with the specific admonishment: “And you shall say, ‘Moreover – behold, your servant Jacob is behind you.’” Thus he sent the tribute up ahead of himself. Jacob hoped, that afterwards he would be able to safely face Esau, and that Esau would forgive him (lit. lift his face).
Jacob had no inkling that before he would meet with Esau, he would meet first with someone else face to face that long and dark night.
He tried to catch some sleep at first but his dread of next day’s meeting with Esau robbed him of it. He got up again and took some more precautionary measures, by moving his whole household across the river Jabbok to the other side. This river was a swift current flowing through a deep and narrow valley; to move his entire camp across, by night, was the endeavor of a desperate man. Acting as a ferryman, standing in the middle of the river, he guided both of his camps across. Following the last crossover he went back to check after remainders.
Separated from his camp on the other side he was now all alone.
The suddenness with which the Scriptures bring the attacker into the narrative implies, that indeed the attack was sudden and unforeseen. Jacob was unprepared for the attacker. Out of the blackness of night, suddenly, a “man” jumped him.
Jacob had no more time to worry, to be afraid or in distress. He had no more time to prepare. He had to fight – now – for his life!
And Jacob wrestled with all his extraordinary might!
† Throughout the history of the exile, Jews found themselves in similar circumstances, where they were forced to follow the example of the Patriarch Jacob. With lavish, generous gifts, often even with all their possessions, they hoped to appease European potentates and lords who, like Esau, pursued them with murderous intent. Frequently whole Jewish communities’ possessions would be swallowed up by the greedy potentate. The history of Esau in Christianity abounds with such profitable pursuits, seizing from the “tricky, cheating, deceiving and conspiring” Jew (an image cultivated and propagated until this day) his wealth he allegedly had “stolen” from the Christians. Then they would “reward” the Jew with saving his soul by forcibly converting him to their religion of “love.”
Who would ever have equated an Esau with love?! Or thought him to be a savior of souls?
Samael – Prince of Darkness, Angel of Esau
Numerous are the interpretations of the identity and nature of this “man.” After careful study and deliberation, bearing in mind also the time and nature of this attack as well as the nature and ways of G-d and that of the evil one, I understand something entirely different from the standard explanation.
First of all – to repeat myself once again – G-d had sworn an oath regarding Abraham’s offspring. Secondly, G-d promised to be FOR Jacob, NOT against him. At every hour of great need and fear for his safety and life, G-d appeared to comfort him, not to harass him even more. Upon entrance into Eretz Israel, G-d sent Jacob a heavenly camp to meet and encourage him.
G-d is light, and with and in Him is no darkness at all. Even the night becomes as day so bright before Him. His works are works of the day, works of light, and He does not work in the cover of darkness. All His works are truth and righteousness, justice, mercy and peace.
Messiah Himself also is light. He is the Light that came into this world to illuminate our darkness, that we may see2. His works are also works of light and not of darkness. He does not hide His works, but does them openly, in the light of day. G-d and Messiah are comparable to the light of the sun and moon: the sun rules over the day, and the moon over the night. One lights my path, the other is a lamp to my feet. Both bring brightness, so that in their light one can see and there be no stumbling at all. The sun is a consuming fire3, while the face of the full moon shines down upon us4 without burning. In the Heavenly Jerusalem G-d will be the Light, and Messiah the Lamp (for neither sun nor moon will be needed anymore as witnesses5).
The “man” (the Hebrew word is “ish”-“man”, not “malâch”-“angel”6) who attacked Jacob did so in the blackness of night7. Neither was there any light about him. He came, not to strengthen Jacob, but to harm him. An assailant does not “assault” to bless, but to harm. An attacker of the night comes not with a gentle embrace, but with violent might to overpower. Someone who seeks to bless and assist another does so with encouragement and comfort, JOINING his strength to that of the other. A sudden assault in the blackness of night is not an encouragement but rather horribly frightening.
Jacob was already fearful. He was in severe, acute distress. The assailant seems to have known of Jacob’s fear, and banked on his weakness. Therefore a sudden attack in deep darkness makes Jacob easy prey.
Nothing, absolutely nothing indicates this man’s nature to have been benevolent. The Church has always interpreted this man to have been ‘The Angel’ of the Lord, i.e. Messiah, who assaulted Jacob and wrestled with him. Yeshua — assaulting?! Yeshua the attacker — of his own chosen, Jacob?!
But I recall assaults in my own life — assaults of black fear! That fear would never assault me by day, only by night. My mother’s constant fears of the approaching step of SS boots, of a knock at her door by night, and being discovered as a Jewess, were passed on to me while in her womb. My mother lived in a continual state of paranoia. Every night she faced with acute distress. Every day was filled with apprehension. But also every night and every day she cast herself in hope upon G-d, crying to Him, calling upon Him to save her and her posterity. Like Jacob she prepared to face her enemy as good as she knew how — yet never without faith and hope in God.
I did not understand where this fear came from. I did not understand why I was so assaulted. This fear was cruel. It sought to overpower me until the break of dawn, when the rays of Messiah’s light dawned in my heart and life and delivered me from this nightmare of fear.
Would you call such an assailant benevolent? God-sent? Does the Word not say that G-d has NOT given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and of a sound mind?8 Who then is this man in the “blackness” of night, attacking us when we are weakest?
I believe it was the evil one, the destroying angel, the one who works in the cover of darkness. He assaults us without warning when we are weakest, and targets our most feeble points at a time of trouble and adversity. He grips our hearts with distress, and tries to weaken our faith, quench our hopes, and destroy our trust in G-d.
He is the ancient inner enemy, the fear of Noah, who crossed over the Deluge with him into the new world to continue his dark works of deception and destruction. He assaulted Jacob that night as the angel of Esau, the angel of him who hated Jacob, who desired to kill him, of whom Jacob was so dreadfully afraid. He attacked Jacob in the form of this “man” in that moment of severe weakness 1.
But Jacob did not succumb! He wrestled for his life! He wrestled for his soul! He wrestled for his birthright, for his inheritance, for his children, his whole future posterity! What a mighty wrestler Jacob turned out to be!
This wrestling match was not just any ordinary fight — it was a struggle as of titans, for it would determine the destiny of Jacob’s posterity. The force of the evil one was pitched against that of the godly one, whereby the evil one had called the shot (had the advantage of surprise).
This wrestling conflict was the most decisive event in Jacob’s life. It determined his life and the future destiny of his descendants. This struggle was as crucial as was Abraham’s readiness to offer up Isaac. It was as climactic as Isaac’s willingness to be that offering. Each Patriarch was confronted with a most severe testing from which there was but one way out: faith in G-d and His promises!
The decisive factor in those climactic crises in the Patriarch’s lives was: whom would they believe? Would they heed the voice of the ancient fear, the inner enemy who lied to them and distorted the truth? Or would they hearken to the Voice of the Lord G-d, Who had promised by His own Name with an oath? This age-old battle was waged and won for us by the Patriarchs. They overcame! They set the pattern of victory for their future posterity. Hallelujah!
What am I talking about? It all began, when the serpent pitched his word against G-d’s and… since then the battle has been waging:
WHOM WILL WE BELIEVE — G-D OR THE ACCUSING LIAR?!
Now that Yeshua has come, THERE REMAINS BUT ONE THING FOR MAN TO DO: TO BELIEVE!!!
Should the enchanting enticer – “nachash”, the serpent, who corrupts man’s faith with his poisonous whispers – demoralize us into doubt and unbelief, then we would be lost unto G-d and He unto us, for eternity!
1 Someone else (apparently a believer in Yeshua) studied this “wrestling” and found what I found, following the same principles of studying the Hebrew words and their meaning, and bearing in mind G-d’s and Yeshua’s nature and the circumstances. 2 Jn 1:4-9; 3:19-21; 8:12 3 Hebrews 12:29 4 Numbers 6:25 5 Revelation 21:23-24 6 The sole other Scriptural reference outside of the Genesis account to this “man” having been an “angel” is in Hosea 12:4, where only the Hebrew conveyes the full picture. The English translation, ‘by his strength he had power with G-d,’ in the Hebrew speaks of a strength in the sense of “meritorious effort” that “succeeded” in pleasing G-d. The words “having power with G-d” in the Hebrew implies that Jacob became G-d’s chosen “champion,” or “minister” in the sense of “authority,” i.e. a “prince” or “minister” with G-d, namely “Israel.” Modern day members of Israel’s Knesset and government ministers are called “sarim,” the plural of “sar,” which is the word translated as “power” in this text in Hosea. It is by that same “power of authority” as a “sar/ minister, champion of G-d,” that Jacob prevailed over this angel. It is the same kind of power of authority as a “sar/minister of the Kingdom of G-d” our Lord Yeshua delegated to us, by which we may prevail against and overcome the fallen angel and prince of darkness, Satan himself. When Jacob wept and made supplication, it wasn’t to this angel but to G-d – the G-d of Bethel [see vs 5] – just prior to the wrestling, for it is there that G-D found US and spoke to US. 7 The Hebrew for “night” is “lailah;” the word used in this narrative, however, is “shachar” which means “blackness.” 8 2 Timothy 1:7 The angel in the title is from MessianicArt.com; Samael
Israel Shall Dwell Secure Apart
But — the decisive battle was won by Abraham, by Isaac and by Jacob, and ultimately — by Messiah Yeshua Himself. These three patriarchs are the progenitors of a new race of man, redeemed by Yeshua, who BELIEVE G-D, trust Him, cling to Him and walk by His statutes and ordinances alone. They do not live from bread alone but from every word that proceeds from the mouth of G-d! Such is the posterity of the patriarchs! Their continuation means the defeat of the devil, that ancient enemy of G-d and His people (Ro 8:15; Heb. 12:15).
Let us now consider this wrestling match between Jacob and this “man.”
First, it began when Jacob was ALONE – afraid and distressed! He was SEPARATED from loved ones and friends. He was ISOLATED from fellowship, from support. Moreover it was night. The Hebrew for night is “layelâh – .“ In this particular instance, the Hebrew for THAT night is shachar – – blackness, darkness. In this deep-dark night Jacob was left alone with the nightmare of his fear.
What an exceedingly black night indeed!
Secondly, Jacob did NOT anticipate THIS assault! He had prepared against an attack from his brother Esau with every means at his disposal, but this sudden assault on his faith, hope and trust was UNFORESEEN! Jacob was caught by surprise, at a moment when the carnal man in him was at its strongest and the spiritual man at its weakest.
The combination of these circumstances: isolation, darkness of night, spiritual weakness — is the precise TIMING OF ATTACK!
His heart probably missed a few beats as he suddenly found himself in the grip of an unexpected, powerful foe! However — now Jacob had something tangible to fight! He was no longer shadow boxing fears. This enemy had a body he could combat. Nor was this an adversary with four hundred armed men — but one unknown opponent. Jacob suddenly realized: this attack was a tangible matter. He could FIGHT BACK!
All his fears and worries, anxiety and distress mutated into a mighty burst of righteous anger. Holy fury swelled up in him and with it, strength to fight. He clenched his unknown attacker with his powerful arms and legs. The chains of fear broke and faith began to rise up in him. The knowledge of G-d’s faithfulness and promises and his faith and trust in this G-d and His Word rushed now to Jacob’s aid and increased his physical strength.
Patriarch Jacob became invincible!
And Jacob’s descendants will become invincible!
Jacob pinned his adversary as into an iron stock. The titan of darkness wrestled with the titan of faith and trust in G-d and His Word. They seemed of equal strength, for neither was able to overcome the other.
This wrestling was not a silent struggle, nor was it merely a physical match of strength. The Hebrew makes a pun with the word – ye’avek – – commonly translated as wrestled, on Jacob’s name – – as well as on the word avak – – (small) dust, powder, which lit. means to bedust, grapple, wrestle. In this titanic struggle of fear against trust, of unbelief against faith, of the darkness of evil against the light of truth and godliness, the angel of Esau not only sought to supplant Jacob as Abraham’s and Isaac’s heir and G-d’s champion by wresting from him the patriarchal blessings and inheritance, but also kicked up dust storms to obscure Jacob’s vision of destiny.
Evil’s very existence is based upon the ability to obscure the truth and deceive man into accepting falsehood. Satan is again masterfully accomplishing this through the Palestinian issue. This angel’s “dust-storm”9 has spread and risen until it has nearly obscured the Truth, and deceived the nations into believing a lie10. Only G-d’s elect (both present and future ones) who keep near to G-d and His truth, will escape the delusion.
My book about the Patriarchs – called GENESIS II – endeavors to make the truth so plain that people may not be deceived by Esau’s – and presently also Ishmael’s – “dust-clouds.” Those who refuse to love the truth (i.e. who heard the truth, recognized it to be the truth, but refused to accept that truth,) will fall victim to the dust-storm of this cosmic struggle, and will be condemned11.
The angel challenged Jacob with all his force, ever seeking to obscure the values in which Jacob had placed his faith and trust. He especially attacked Jacob’s isolation (from the nations12), his separation as G-d’s elect, to cause him to abandon the mission for which Abraham’s seed was chosen.
Hence Jacob’s progeny is also called to “separateness”:
“And Israel shall dwell secure apart.”13
To the extent that she is apart, Israel will be secure; to the extent that Israel seeks to become united with the nations, she will be in danger.
The nations can join Israel — but Israel cannot join them!14
So vital is this isolation to the survival of Israel (and the success of creating a new race of man) that, if Israel fails to abide by its wisdom, G-d will lift His protection from her and allow the nations to persecute her. If Israel won’t be separate unto Him, the nations will do it for her. The Nazis are a tragic example of what happens when this is carried too far. But — G-d will use their destruction for life! Israel was indeed separated (as living sacrifices and lit. burnt offerings) unto temporary death — that she may not be lost unto eternal death, but live before G-d as His people forever more.
The destroying angel succeeded in wounding Israel — but not in swallowing him up.
9 There is a tradition among the Jewish people that every generation has an “Amalek” who seeks to destroy the Jewish people. Amalek was the grandson of Esau and apparently had been raised with the milk of hatred, just as it is done today with the Palestiniana children. Amalek fell upon the stragglers of the Israelites on their way to the promised land. Arafat, the PLO and other Palestinian terrorist groups are the “Amalek” of this generation. 10 2 Thessalonians 2:11 11 2 Thessalonians 2:12 12 A phenomenon in every generation: condemning the Jews for keeping separate, for their customs being different from other nation’ customs, mocking the Jews’ “separateness” and forcing upon them an “isolation” such as ghettos in malicious vengeance upon the Jews divinely ordained “isolation.” And every generation of Jacob’s children has seen those who succumbed to this angel’s wresting and dust-storms, seeking to become like all the nations in order to escape isolation and find acceptance. Yet there is never acceptance with this “angel” – only assimilation, supplanting of the inheritance, or death. 13 Deuteronomy 33:28 14 Some of the text on this and the following page is based on the excellent commentary found in the “ArtScroll Tenach Series, Vol. IV, Genesis.”
The Battle of the Ages from Jacob to Yeshua
I believe it has become rather apparent that this “man” was no ordinary angel. Rashi, one of the great Jewish sages, comments that the “man” was Samael, the guardian angel of Esau. The sages teach that Samael represents evil as does no other angel. He tried desperately to distort Jacob’s vision of who he was in G-d’s eternal plan, and who his posterity would be. He tried to entice Jacob to lower himself to Esau, to bow to him as the superior, and relinquish his claim to the birthright and blessing.
If only Jacob would abandon this vision and belief of being the “chosen of G-d,” set apart to become Patriarch of a people that ultimately would fill the whole earth with the light of the knowledge of G-d, with the Truth and the blessing of His Salvation, Yeshua. If only he would accept the lie of ordinariness, being no different from other people, being just like all men. THEN Esau’s angel would have Jacob at this throat for good, and all of his future posterity. Then he could destroy the whole new race of [A-dam, recreated in the image and likeness of the Last A-dam, Messiah Yeshua] man at its very inception, as this “ancient” enemy mastered to do with the first [A-dam] man in the garden.
Imbedded in Jacob were the qualities of all three Patriarchs, which made him the unshakable foundation upon which the future ISRAEL could be built. Jacob’s titanic struggle set in motion a chain of events which would affect his offspring thousands of years into the future, it’s cause and effect reverberating throughout the ages, determining history until G-d’s final Day of Judgment.
The struggle wore on UNTIL — the DEPARTURE OF THE BLACKNESS OF NIGHT, and the RISING OF THE FIRST LIGHT OF PRE-DAWN!
At that very moment the balance shifted in Jacob’s favor!
The Hebrew translated as “until the break of dawn – ad alot ha’shachar,” lit. means until the going up, the departure of the blackness, i.e. pre-dawn. Alternately, shachar refers to the appearance of the first faint rays of daylight. This angel (of Esau) works only in darkness. He hates the light which exposes his deceitful nature. Jacob’s strength, however, increased. And thus salvation dawned upon Jacob, and deliverance for the House of Israel, as it is written:
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the L-RD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness all peoples; but the L-RD rises upon you and His glory appears over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn (rising –).”15
The importance and magnitude of this lit. “rising of light” I cannot emphasize enough. Not only did it promise victory to Jacob at the time of his wrestling, but it also proclaimed victory and salvation for the future generation of Israel in the last days. The night of exile, of wrestling for survival as a people among the nations will come to an end, as will the present attempt to supplant Israel from her rightful inheritance16. The salvation of Messiah’s Return will dawn upon Israel, and the Return of G-d’s glory will be seen. The darkness [of exile and persecution] in which Jacob’s children have so desperately wrestled among the peoples will instead engulf the peoples themselves. For Jacob will be saved in the brightness of Messiah’s rising in the hearts of individuals and upon the nation17.
We can clearly see that darkness has begun to descend upon the peoples of the world: revolutions, lawlessness, murder, immorality, barbarism, idolatry, witchcraft, drug-abuse, terrorism, the love of money and self are steadily increasing. The night of unrestrained evil in which love will grow cold 18, is descending, while at the same time we can observe a dawning upon the Jewish people. As Jacob “returned” from fearing Esau to renewed faith and trust in G-d’s faithfulness and promises, so do we see today a RETURN of the Jewish people unto their G-d and unto their Messiah, YESHUA.
Yes indeed, it is a Jewish RETURN to the Messianic faith! For Jews who believed in Yeshua numbered in the hundreds of thousands at the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. (see Josephus, “History of the Jews”), and at the end of the century more than one and a half Million. All Jews, including Yeshua’s disciples, were scattered, and eventually that pagan counterfeit of the true faith, created by Emperor Constantine, put an end to the Jewish presence in the Church.
Now Messiah has begun His Return – a Return by His Spirit… He has begun to enter His own sheepfold and is calling His own sheep, for there is an increasing number of recognizable Jews – i.e. His own sheep – gathering about Him. I am one of them. And I literally experienced the rising of His light in my heart, as is also written in Job: “He has redeemed my soul from the pit, and my life shall see the light. Behold, G-d does all these things, twice, three times with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit to be lighted or enlightend with the light of life or the living.” 19
His light has already risen in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Jews both in Israel and abroad. Fearing rejection by our own people many are reluctant to come out into the open with their faith in Yeshua. Nevertheless we know that ‘Esau’ no longer poses a threat for us, because victory has already dawned upon us. The majority of Jacob’s children, however, are still wrestling, not recognizing as yet the “alot ha’shachor” for our people in the Savior and King of Israel, Messiah Yeshua raised in Nazareth, Son of David born in Bethlehem, Son of Abraham, Son of Adam, Son of G-d.
No mightier battle has been fought than Jacob’s, except for the one Yeshua fought on the cross. Because the weight of all our sins was laid on Him, He had to bow as Son of Man [Ben A-dam] to the grip of death. His light eclipsed by our sins during this titanic struggle, the darkness of night of that ancient enemy began to engulf the earth. The night of Yeshua’s wrestling seemed an eternity. The ancient enemy, the old serpent, appeared to have won the victory when he inflicted the grievous wound of death on the Promised Seed through Whom G-d was going to raise up a whole new race of [A-dam20] men. The Anointed One was indeed cut off from the living21 — but only temporary!
Yeshua emerged victorious from this struggle of the ages, perhaps at the “alot ha’shachor” of the third day22. Yeshua overcame permanently this ancient fear of Noah and the Patriarchs, this deceiver from the garden, this inner enemy. Messiah became our camp of G-d, to strengthen and encourage us into G-d’s promises. Whenever a Jew turns to Messiah in faith, he will thus be met by Him, never to travel alone again!
15 Isaiah 60:1-2 16 Not only are these “Invaders – Plishtim – Philistines – Palestinians” invading G-d’s own land to supplant the children of Jacob out of it, they even attempt to supplant Messiah Yeshua from his position of Messiah and King of Israel and Savior of the world by calling Him the “first Palestinian.” It is quite obvious which spirit is at work through them! 17 Malachi 4:2-3 18 Matthew 24:12 19 Job 33:28-30 20 See http://www.ortzion.org/images/calenderend.html, endnote “o” 21 Danie9:26 22 See http://www.ortzion.org/images/risen13_.html; +http://www.ortzion.org/images/omer14.html, plus endnote “q” Picture of dawn is by http://www.freefoto.com/pictures/nature/dawn.index.asp; picture of Jerusalem bombing is by www.cnn.com
Of Jacob becomes Israel, Champion of God and Heir of the Promise
The angel of Esau perceived by that time – the first dawning – that he could not overpower Jacob. He had looked for weaknesses throughout the match, but couldn’t find any. But then he violently gripped Jacob’s hip-socket, and dislocated it23.
The day of salvation had begun to dawn on Jacob, the light and might of Messiah was coming to his aid. Despite the injury Jacob, with supernatural strength, now literally held this angel of Esau prisoner. Although this “man” tried to free himself, Jacob would not let go of him.
Now the tone of Esau’s angel changed. He no longer was Jacob’s equal in strength. His power was bound up with the blackness of night, which was giving way to light. While Jacob was able to resist the angel even in darkness, the angel appeared to weaken in light.
The LIGHT OF TRUTH will always in the end defeat the NIGHT OF DECEPTION and lies. Esau’s angel had met with his master.
Finally the “man” pleaded: “Let me go (lit. “send me”), for dawn has broken.” How would light interfere with his mission – had this been indeed an angel of G-d? Since when does an angel of G-d shun the light? An angel of light welcomes light and does not flee it. An angel of G-d would certainly have prevailed. That this “man” did not prevail indicates someone other than an angel of G-d for he could not overcome the “elect champion” and “anointed prince” of G-d.
Now this “man” was in Jacob’s power (the power of evil can be overcome by the power of good or vice versa, but how would an angel of G-d be overpowered by a mere, albeit godly, human?), and Jacob saw his chance come — the good fortune His G-d supplied to establish His chosen once and for all. He replied: “I will not let you go…,” i.e. you are in MY power now. The situation is changed. You cannot outwrestle Jacob (ye’avek — ya’akov) with your dark and brutish power. Although I did take hold of my brother’s heel (akav) in our mother’s womb, I did not overpower you with deceit (ik’vah), but in honest wrestling. And I proved the stronger, for G-d is with me. Therefore… “I will not let go of you unless YOU bless me.”
For why would Jacob have insisted on a benevolent angel of G-d to bless him, seen that G-d already had promised that he would bless Jacob, the offspring of Abraham and Isaac?
3. Jacob’s Birthright and Inheritance of BlessingThe blessing Jacob wanted from the angel is not the kind one would solicit from a righteous person. For who wants to get blessed by an evil one? Rather, as Rashi states, Jacob told the angel to acknowledge his right to the blessing which Isaac bestowed on him, but for which Esau contended.
Acknowledged and Confirmed by the Rivaling Force
To accept this “man” having been an angel of G-d or even the Lord Himself is rather difficult, since this angel is anything but benevolent. Furthermore, in light of Jewish history Esau’s angel has continued to contend for the birthright, even until today. He is the one with whom the Jewish people have wrestled throughout every generation.
Why would I wrestle with G-d for faith in G-d?
It is the adversary who seeks to destroy my faith and hope, not G-d. But such a struggle may enter into the sphere of the divine. For this kind of warfare is not merely between one man with another for temporal matters, but for the eternal life of one’s soul; whether one will spend eternity with G-d, or apart from G-d.
We may regard Jacob’s struggle on a higher than ordinary level. The angel, still caught in Jacob’s iron clasp, then asked a rather needless question: “What is your name?” Needless, because he knew the answer anyhow. Apparently he intended a pun on the Hebrew as the text reveals, his next words showing his intent: “No longer will it be SAID that your name is Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with the divine [with the ‘supernatural’] and with human and have overcome.”
The angel did not say, “no longer shall your name be CALLED…,” but “…no longer shall it be SAID..” The literal meaning of verse 28 is: “No longer shall it be said, gossiped and rumored of you that you are Ya’acov, the ‘heel-catcher’ and ‘supplanter’ of your brother. Your name shall be nothing other but [than] – ke eem – Israel.” I.e. “you shall be known henceforth only as, as nothing other than the prince, heir and champion with/of G-d.”
The angel was not renaming Jacob as it has commonly been interpreted, but rather revealing to Jacob – in a pun on the Hebrew – what would be said of him in the future, and what G-d Himself would do later. Jacob in Hebrew is ya’akov – supplanter; to wrestle is ye’avek. Jacob wrestled in all honesty, in the power and light of his faith, without resorting to any trickery as was once his custom… Therefore his reputation as the tricky supplanter of his brother would give way to being known solely as a minister of, or prince before G-d: for in mighty, honest wrestling had he overcome every trial and adversity.
Samael, who guarded Esau and his rights, grudgingly confirmed to Jacob the blessing of the firstborn obtained from the father through deceit. Jacob was now formally and “lawfully” acknowledged as the TRUE heir to the father’s blessing of inheritance. Deceit and supplanting of rights and inheritance were things of the past (practiced in our days by the enemies of Israel). Jacob was recognized by this “man” as the truly chosen of G-d, who prevailed over all his trials by his unshakable faith in G-d and His promises.
Of Ya’akov had become I’sra’el, a giant of faith, the fit patriarch of a people through whom G-d would channel the recreation of a new race of [A-dam] men, by means of His only begotten Son, Yeshua HaMashiach.
Without understanding who this patriarch was and who he became, and what his descendants are and will be, it is impossible to fully grasp what G-d is doing. For the children of this patriarch are Israelites, i.e., Champions of G-d, Contenders for the Divine, conquering by strength from Above. It is not a vain saying of Yeshua that, “Salvation is of the Jews.”
Through this people alone did G-d raise up Messiah; and through this people alone is He raising up a new race of man, a chosen race. G-d may have diminished the goodly olive-tree Israel in size and branches, but He never uprooted THAT tree to replace it with another. This would have undone His very plan of salvation and recreation. Rather, G-d set in motion a plan of redemption which cannot be altered by the enemy of G-d. Regardless of how many believe or fall by the wayside, G-d continues to pursue this plan because it, and the new world arising from it, is unshakable.
Likewise Jacob’s descendants prevail immovably until ALL has been accomplished. Israel’s position as the chosen “people of G-d” remains secure24, regardless of outward appearances to the contrary or the countless attacks against them. In G-d’s plan they are the “womb,” the “incubator” through whom He is raising up that new, chosen race of men unshakable in faith, love, and loyalty to G-d. He founded that race of men on the Patriarchs, and raises them up through Messiah.
And Israel (Jacob) is the progenitor of THIS people!
23 Why that place? The Jewish sages say that Jacob’s one weakness in the veneer of his righteousness was his cohabitation with four wives. The angel “located” and “dislocated” it, attempting to – justifiably – harm the issue of Jacob’s loins. 24 Roman 11:29
Jacob prevailed, as will the People of Israel
I write about him in such detail so that we may understand how complex this righteous one is, and that we may perceive what G-d is doing. For G-d speaks to us clearly through Jacob who was transformed into I’sra’el. It is not our many religious activities that amount to anything, nor can we ever by any means “merit” righteousness and therewith salvation. It was not that Jacob “merited” anything: rather, after relying on the strength of his OWN nature to overcome trials brought on by himself and others, he then strove mightily against this nature with values in the dimension of the spiritual and the divine. Jacob OVERCAME and was TRANSFORMED by his faith which, although weakened at times, remained nontheless, UNSHAKABLE!
G-d does not expect us to “merit” redemption and salvation. We only have to look to the patriarchs, in particular to Jacob, to understand this. Despite his shortcomings he became the progenitor of G-d’s elect people Israel. His faith not only saw him through but also was the medium by which G-d transformed Jacob into the righteous patriarch of G-d’s own people.
G-d uses FAITH to create and recreate. Apart from faith we cannot please G-d, neither is there redemption nor recreation. Therefore, G-d “hated” Esau, but Jacob He “loved.”
Do you see now WHO Jacob is, and why G-d approved of him as the progenitor of a new race of man?
Then let us continue with the account of this very special man’s life.
And so, the angel prophesied to him what would be said of him from then on, that as a prince (sar – heir) he had power [lit,. the power of authority, such as the power of authority delegated by Yeshua to the disciples over all of the power of the enemy25] with G-d and men (sara et-elohim) and over the angel (v’jasar et-malach26). I.e., G-d was confirming Jacob the “supplanter” rather than Esau as the prince in Isaac’s household; Jacob’s strength (ôwn) came from G-d, Who empowered him to overcome, prevail (yâkôl) against Esau’s angel. “Because…
1 John 4:4: “…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
Jacob replied: “So then, please, what is said of YOU? What is YOUR name?” Is YOUR power and authority of G-d, or of evil? Are you a holy angel of the Lord G-d, or are you my brother’s supernatural emissary to strip me of my father’s blessings before I actually meet with Esau? Did you come to weaken me in order to make me subservient to my brother? Or did you come to acknowledge my position as divinely elected heir of my father and his blessings? Whence is your power, and why did you wrestle with me in the blackness of night? Surely I know who you are. So tell me your name that I may see if my suspicions were right.
The “man” did not like Jacob’s question. “Why is it THIS you ask? What’s to MY name that’s so important to know? Suffice it, that I confirm the blessing of the firstborn on you.” The Hebrew clearly indicates the angel’s evasiveness, who knew very well what Jacob wanted to know. He was not about to disclose his true nature and mission. But the angel realized that he was powerless against Jacob, for it meant “wrestling with G-d” Himself, Who had chosen Jacob as the heir of Isaac, and not Esau. The angel could not overcome G-d’s authority, therefore Esau stood stripped of his birthright not merely by Jacob, but by G-d. There remained nothing more to do then to confirm what the Almighty had already established. Therefore he ratified to Jacob then and there the blessing he had sought to wrest from him and transfer back to Esau.
Likewise the peoples who are attempting to “wrest” from Israel the birthright of inheritance since the day of her rebirth as a nation27, have actually been wrestling with G-d28, challenging and defying Him29. The 1,800 years of Gentile “Esauic” Christianity also testify of her attempts to strip the descendants of Jacob of their birthright, calling herself the “new Israel.” But Jacob prevailed and is returning to the promised land after 20 centuries, known again among the nations by no other name than Israel.
The “man” disappeared from the narrative as suddenly as he had appeared. He was but a bad dream, a nightmare.
Those nations and individuals who seek moreover to divide up the Land of Israel and her capital, Jerusalem30, will discover that they are meddling not with mere mortals’ land but with the pastures of G-d31 and His chosen city. They will not succeed, even though backed by Satan’s enormous power32. Rather, they will grievously hurt themselves33. For a time it may appear that Jacob’s descendants, (even the whole seed of Abraham), are defeated34. But G-d’s salvation will not tarry. He will arise and empower His people with divine might35 to prevail over their enemies. Then G-d will deal with the nations according to His indignation and fury for their incredible arrogance, love of unrighteousness and wicked deceit36.
Jacob’s wrestling and ultimate victory is the prophetic foreshadowing of Israel’s final battle referred to by the prophets as “the time of Jacob’s troubles”37. May Israel be prepared physically and spiritually with unshakable faith and trust in G-d. May the nations be warned that G-d has already set His King on Zion, His holy hill38, and that they cannot have what G-d has given to Israel, “…because as regards election Israel is [they are] beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of G-d are irrevocable.” 39
Furthermore, Jacob exclaimed with a sigh of relief: “I shall call this place ‘Peni’el’: for I was face to face with divine [supernatural] power, and wrestled with one whose might was from G-d 40 . And I escaped with my soul, with the breath of my life.”
Hebrew makes subtle distinctions, and while on the surface it may mean one thing, careful research and study of roots, tenses, and derivatives, reveals what is actually being said. Hence, instead of “face to face with [Almighty] G-d,” what is actually implied is, “faced with a power that is from G-d,” or “face to face with a divine [supernatural] power.” Furthermore, the Hebrew word for life is chaim, while in this text the word nephesh – soul is being used, its meaning related to the breath of life. Chayah or michjah are the common words in regard to having one’s life preserved or rescued or kept safely. The word tinatzel translated as preserved instead carries the meaning of escape, as from a mortal danger. The English translation relates to a degree the truth, but not the actual meaning of what both this “man” and Jacob said
Because Jacob’s words have been translated as, “I have seen G-d face to face,” most Christians believe this “man” to have been an angel FROM G-d. Yet the accurate picture in the Hebrew is, “I was faced with a might bestowed by G-d,” or “I was face to face with a supernatural power, and [like a bird the fowler’s snare] my soul escaped this mortal danger. He couldn’t take my breath of life away.”
“For We are not Contending against Flesh and Blood, but against the Principalities, against the Powers, against the World Rulers of this Present Darkness, against the Spiritual Hosts of Wickedness in the Heavenly Places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
The “crowns,” “rebirth of a nation,” and Ephesians 6 “war” pictures are by http://www.MessianicArt.com/ 25 Luke 10:19 26see Hosea 12:4 27 Isaiah 66:8 28 see Ezekiel 35:10-13; Zechariah 2:8, 12; 8:2; Joel 3:1-7, 12, 19-21; Ps 83 29 Jeremiah 50:24, 29 30 Joel 3:1-2 31 Psalm 83:12 32 Revelation 13:2 33 Zechariah 12:2-4 34 Da 7:21-22; Re 13:7 35 Zechariah 12:7-9 36 Joel 3:28 37 Jer 30:7; Da 12:1 38 Psalm 2:6, 10 39 Ro 11:28-29 40 The word “Elohim” used in this particular verse does not refer only to the supreme “G-d” (in particular when used with the article), but also to “gods” in the ordinary sense, as well as at times to angels and judges. But what determines the interpretation here to be other than “G-d” is in verse 31, where we suddenly find “Peni’el” having become “Penu’el” – faces of god -, a prophetic foreshadowing of Jacob’s posterity having to wrestle with more than one adversary of supernatural [namely demonic] power.
Israel sows with tears but shall reap with joy
Jacob not only escaped the mortal danger with his soul; he overcame, he conquered his worst fears, and his brother’s strength, by the power of his faith in the G-d of his fathers Abraham and Isaac.He emerged a new man, a transformed man, the chosen prince and patriarch of the people of G-d, the chief of the nations41. He arose, renewed in strength, mighty in faith, as the sun rose upon him like the sun of righteousness, with healing in its wings42. For although he was limping (on account of a certain weakness Samael had discovered and attacked), he was strong. He had become a true “tzaddik” [righteous one] of G-d. His body of flesh had sustained a lasting blow, an injury reverberating through future generations. But his soul and faith had remained whole. He was from now on, irrevocably, the blessed of G-d.
Now he was prepared to meet his mortal enemy, his brother Esau.
And there came wild man Esau with four hundred men, fearfully superior in manpower and weaponry. If Esau’s intentions had been peaceful from the beginning, he certainly would not have come in the company of 400 armed men. Then he would have come in the company of his sons and a few of his most honored men. Jacob faced his opponent with his family and his servants only. He appeared to be at a terrible disadvantage. But — this was no longer Jacob. This was Israel, and the victory was on his side — the Lord G-d Almighty, the Holy One of Israel, would fight for him.
Israel lined up his family – the two maids with their children first, Leah and her children next, and finally, Rachel and Joseph. The place each of Israel’s four wives held in his heart is obvious. The treasure of his heart and the apple of his eye he placed last to ensure their escape should need be.
But whom G-d has blessed men cannot curse!
Clothed with the righteousness of faith, mind and soul garrisoned with trust in G-d and His promises, with such G-d makes even his enemies to be at peace.
Hosea 12:3-5, KJV: “He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength [best, first and foremost of his substance, effort and faith] = ôwno he had power [as a prince] = sara with God:
12:4 Yea, he had [the] power [of authority, rule] = jasaar (sûwr) over the angel, messenger = êl’malâch, and prevailed [as one who is able to overcome <even> through suffering and by endurance] = yuchal [yâkôl]: he wept [as with lamentation; or simply, having tears in his eyes, perhaps from pain} = bâkâh, and made supplication unto him [as the superior entreating the favor of the inferior] = vajitchanen’lo [chanan]: he found him/us = jimtza’enu in Bethel, and there he spake with us = v’sham jidaber imanu;
12:5 Even the LORD G-d of hosts; the LORD is his memorial.”
Only Hosea makes reference to this event (besides the N.T. Scriptures) and tells us that this “man = ish” was a “malâch,” which means angel as well as messenger. This “man” apparently was a messenger from Satan, Samael, the angel of Esau. And Hosea confirms that Jacob had the power and authority of a prince or ruler over him, while the strength by which he had power with G-d was one of tremendous effort and exertion of faith, by which he became a prince/minister before G-d, one who has divinely delegated power of authority.
Neither Jacob’s weeping nor his supplication are to be understood as begging. Rather, he shows humility by entreating – and not harshly demanding – the defeated foe to confirm the blessing .
In no wise do these two verses in Hosea 12 contradict what is written in Genesis 32. On the contrary: verse 4 goes immediately into G-d having found him, or us, at Beit-el (Bethel) and spoken there to us. Since these words follow immediately the “supplication” without any interruption, the supplication is presented as a natural outcome, or reflection of Jacob’s experience at Beit-el, where G-d confirmed the covenant and the promise. The image created by these words is that of Jacob suddenly remembering what G-d had said and promised — his G-d Who is the L-RD of hosts; and the memorial of the covenant he had made there with G-d. The covenant with this mighty G-d of battle – his G-d – was sure, hence he needed neither begging nor tearful pleading. But with the authority of the heir of which he now was sure he entreated this “man” to make valid what G-d already had confirmed.
For thus says the L-RD: “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,Blessed and praised be the Lord our G-d Whose Truth is imbedded in the words inspired by Him, and which He reveals to all who delight in His Word and approach it with reverential awe, digging into its depth as one who seeks for great treasures. To Him alone be glory and honor forever and ever.
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise,
and say, ‘The L-RD has saved His people, the remnant of Israel.'”
Amen and Amen 41 Jeremiah 31:7 42 Malachi 4:2
Did God Seek to Kill Moses?Page 11
My interpretation of Jacob’s wrestling is frequently being challenged with the “argument” about the Lord meeting Moses, trying to kill him. I shall, therefore, endeavor to make plain the difference between those two biblical records concerning these great men of G-d, Jacob and Moses.
What clarifies the difference between those two accounts – Jacob’s wrestling and G-d seeking to kill Moses – is the record that precedes each story. The Jewish way of studying Scripture is meticulously examining every word, considering its root which, in the Hebrew, embraces many other words, linked with the particular word in question through a common idea. Thus the meaning of it is broadened. Furthermore, the tenses in which a word appears, in what context of the story, and to what time it may apply, is likewise considered carefully, as well as the numbers of the words, of a sentence and of a paragraph, for further revelation and confirmation.
Indeed, the study of the Word is very involved, and one discovers that G-d is an unceasing fountain of continuous revelation, just as the universe keeps on expanding with no end in sight.
So, let us consider the difference between the circumstances of Jacob’s wrestling and that of G-d “seeking to kill” Moses. In Jacob’s account we learn that he was converted into a righteous man, honest to a fault, when his uncle Laban tricked him by giving him Leah for wife instead of his beloved Rachel1. The experience was unbearably painful and crushing as he was being dealt back in like measure what he had done to his beloved father and to his brother. The effect of Laban’s trickery proved utterly transforming as Jacob was given to taste of his own ways.
Continuing to read Jacob’s story, we see him serving his father-in-law and uncle Laban for yet another 7 years for a wife he did not want 02. Next, Laban struck another crafty bargain with Jacob who altogether served his uncle for 20 years 03. The story reveals that Jacob had become so completely honest that he would have gained not even one sheep or goat had G-d not intervened on his behalf, using Laban’s deceitfulness and cheating to Jacob’s advantage 04. As G-d allowed that Jacob was served his own former ways for at least 14 years, the divine purpose was accomplished: Jacob became a wholly upright man who loathed deceit and deviousness, and who had learned to depend on G-d alone, trusting and hoping in His promise.
The absolute clearness of the story when read without the usual anti-Semitic prejudice leaves no room for interpreting Jacob’s wrestling with the “man” as being the point in time when Jacob was “converted” from self-relying trickster into a righteous man. Furthermore, in view of the fact that G-d Himself stopped Laban from harming Jacob when he was in pursuit of him05 we are brought to realize that G-d was for and with Jacob, rather than Jacob having to grapple with G-d. G-d provided divine protection and favor for His chosen before the wrestling encounter. How is it, then, that so many conclude it was the Lord who jumped Jacob in the dark of night???
What’s more, Jacob was not begging this “man” (not “malach” – “angel” 06 ; in most of Jewish literature the “man” is said to have been Samael, Esau’s “angel”, profoundly evil, known also as “angel of death”) to bless him. Rather, when he made supplication he wept – for he always felt deep grief over his former ways – and gently requested, with all humility, to have his father’s blessings of the firstborn confirmed on him (see Hosea 12:4 and footnote #6). And He PREVAILED!
While Jacob may not have felt as guilty toward his brother, with whose carnal ways he had been well acquainted and which he exploited to gain the rights of the firsborn, having tricked his father Isaac tormented Jacob ever since. The guilt became almost unbearable since Laban’s trickery.
What is more, the “man” Samael does not say (in the Hebrerw), “Your name shall be CALLED…,” but rather — “no longer shall it be SAID of you…” There is a play with words in the Hebrew here. Jacob [ya’akov – ] had become known as the “trickster” [akev – ] who had taken hold of his brother’s heel [ekev – ] while still in the womb, and who had dealt deceitfully [akov – ] with father and brother to obtain the blessing of the firstborn. Now, that Jacob prevailed in the wrestling match [ye’avek – ] because G-D WAS WITH HIM, despite the “angel” stirring up dust [avak – ] clouds to obscure Jacob’s perception of himself as G-d’s chosen 07, Esau’s angel reluctantly confirmed the blessing. He said that “from now on Jacob would be known as G-d’s chosen, the one with whom G-d was siding, as the confirmed firstborn of Isaac – ISRAEL!”
Why Christians are so insistent on wanting to see the “trickster” Jacob wrestling with one of G-d’s angels seems to have its roots in the past centuries of anti-Jewish teachings and sentiments. Jacob is forever pictured as that crooked-nosed deceitful Jew, regardless of the actual account of the story. Esau did not come with 400 men to greet and hug his brother Jacob with brotherly affection. He came to kill his brother and take everything from him. It was the decisive wrestling match from which Jacob emerged victoriously that saved his and his family’s life. Samael relinquished Esau’s right who, as a result, temporarly experienced a change of heart and refrained from destroying Jacob and his 2 camps.
G-d did not confront Jacob with one of His angels because of Jacob’s disobedience, or lack of faith, or trickery, or faithlessness. Jacob was on his way back home in obedience to the Lord’s command 08 Who moreover promised to be with Jacob. Then as now the adversary of G-d is trying to destroy the chosen race that sprang from Jacob’s loins, through whom Messiah has come and to whom He will return.
If you are wrestling with G-d for faith in G-d, then I would say you have a serious problem. Jacob did not have this problem, nor did he need conversion from trickster into a righteous man at that time. He already had become G-d’s man of righteousness and faith — ISRAEL!
01 Genesis 29:20-25 02 Genesis 29:26-30 03 Genesis 31:5-13, 38-42 04 The saying, “you are an Aramean to me”, stems from Laban having been an Aramean who cheated and tricked Jacob at every opportunity. “I have been Jewed” is the Christian anti-Semtic version of it in wanton disregard of Jacob’s transformation. 05 Genesis 31:22-29 06 The argument commonly used that it was definitely an angel of G-d is based upon Hosea 12:4. But “malach” is not ONLY an “angel”; it also means “messsenger”, and a “being of divine origin of supernatural power”. For the Almighty did not strip the rebelling angels of their supernatural power. Consequently, a fallen “angel” is still an “angel” [see Rev. 12:7], albeit an evil one, referred to as “demon”. G-d has allowed them to use their power of divine origin against all mankind as well as against His Son, Yeshua the Messiah, and against His people, both Jews and engrafted ones. For it is love, faith, hope and obedience that shall overcome the rebellion and the evil ones. Jacob had all of that when he wrestled. 07 Once again Jacob’s descendants wrestle for their survival while this angel is stirring up huge “dust” clouds by the nations insisting that Israel bow to their demands, thereby “clouding” the Jews’ vision of themselves as being G-d’s chosen nation. 08 Genesis 31:3
Interpretation of Moses’ near DeathPage 12
Now let us analyze the account about Moses, mystifying as it may appear to be. The story has no similarity with that of Jacob
To begin with, it is necessary to read the whole story prior to “G-d sought to kill Moses”. For we shall come to understand that Moses, trained up as an Egyptian also thought as one. Hence, when coming to realize that he was to be the deliverer of the Hebrews, it only seemed right to him to kill those who oppressed his people.
Well, G-d had different plans, and removed dear Moses far away into the wilderness, from royal privileges and princely living in Pharaoh’s palace to dwelling in tents with no servants fulfilling his every whim and demand. Taught by Egypt’s top teachers he now was made to keep sheep, which, although loveable, are pretty senseless creatures and utterly dependent on care. 40 years in the wilderness whacked all “princeliness” out of Moses as well as all pride and conceit. He was totally converted from the high and mighty prince of Egypt to the most humble and meek man imaginable. He probably even felt mortified of ever having thought of himself so highly, in particular that he would be the deliverer of the Hebrews.
I am sure Satan was always at hand berating Moses: “Just who do you think you are, huh? The promised ‘deliverer’ of the Hebrews, huh? Man, do you ever have a swollen head! You are imagining things, dude! You are so deceived and conceited! You are pitiful! You — G-d’s chosen deliverer! What a joke! Hahaha!” In the end Moses was utterly convinced that he had been deceived and high-minded, and that he was not the promised deliverer after all. So he just kept humbly after the dumb sheep, having acquired a most meek attitude, just as it is written of him that there was not a man on earth as meek as Moses.
THAT was the point in time when G-d spoke to Moses from the burning bush. It is especially important now to follow the story very carefully from Exodus 3:1 through 4:1-14! For you will find that Moses constantly argued with G-d, insisting that he was not fit to be G-d’s messenger to Pharao and the Hebrews. He had come to view himself so meekly that he actually developed a stutter. Well, in verse 14 we see that at long last G-d’s anger was kindled by Moses keeping on making excuses. Thus, Moses eventually embarked reluctantly on the mission, asking leave from Jethro, his father-in-law.
Continuing to read in the Hebrew, we come to Exodus 4:24, translated as, “And it came to pass on the way at the lodging place…” This same verse can also be translated as, “On the way, he tarried in a lodging place…” Why was he “tarrying” there? Apparently, because Moses was still distrusting himself in regard to the mission, hesitating, tarrying in the inn. This aroused G-d’s displeasure, just as Moses’ arguing with Him did.
Moses was actually fearful to go and speak to Pharao, who was the very man with whom he had grown up as a boy, sat in class together, who had been like a brother to him. Just the thought of it all probably made Moses feel sick to his stomach. He was not at all eager to face this former “brother” who now was the mighty ruler over all of Egypt. While on the contrary he, Moses, was at this phase in his life a lowly shepherd from Midian. Moses just would much rather not go, which was certain to arouse G-d’s anger.
In addition to this, as though Moses had wanted to break altogether with his past and his link with the Hebrews, he failed to circumcise his son. Up to then G-d had not bothered about it. But now this became a serious matter of outright defiance. Moses knew that no uncircumcised male could be part of the covenant people. Hence, as G-d’s chosen messenger and deliverer of the Hebrews, it was incumbent upon Moses to at last circumcise his son. Yet he forestalled, evidently in an attempt to subvert this mission to Egypt. At length, G-d’s anger was aroused and He LET the sick feeling Moses experienced manifest into serious illness.
Many commentators connect this sudden illness of Moses with his postponing the circumcision of his son, and his tarrying at the inn. The more so as in the previous verse Moses was to warn pharaoh that disobedience to G-d’s will carried dire punishment with it; hence he himself should, therefore, on no account have neglected the duty incumbent upon him 09.
The way it is phrased in the Hebrew does not indicate that G-d had a sudden change of mind and wanted to kill Moses. On the contrary, it was Moses’ defiant procrastination and fear that resulted in the dire consequence of a very serious illness, of which can be said that G-d allowed it. And if G-d allowed it one may liken that to — “He sought to kill him.”
We may compare it with the saying that “G-d hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” All that G-d really did was establish Pharaoh in the disposition of his already proud and defiant heart. In Moses’ case at the inn G-d merely allowed Moses’ fear, disobedience and lack of faith to take its course. Without divine intervention it developed into an illness so serious it would have led to his death, had Zipporah not stepped in by carrying out the circumcision and placing that skin against Moses’ feet. The Lord’s withholding healing on behalf of Moses can be interpreted as “He sought to kill him.”
The same may be said of the Nazi Holocaust. The ones who should have intervened on behalf of the Jews were the co-heirs and fellow citizens of the commonwealth of Israel – the Christians called out from among the Gentiles – just as Zipporah had intervened on behalf of Moses. But except for a few individuals most of Eurpean Christianity stood passively by, or even actively supported the genocide of the Jews. They believed themselves to be now the true and new Israel, while the Jews were suffering their “just deserve” for having “killed Jesus”. Consequently, seeing that G-d did not actively intervene in preventing the Holocaust we may say that by allowing it to take its course He “sought to kill the Jews.”
However, Obadiah 10-14 gives us a different picture of what happened. And we need to recognize that G-d does not actively intervene at all times in the affairs of man but mostly leaves us to the consequences of our choices. We are divine-like in that we have a FREE will and can choose whom we believe, obey, follow, etc. G-d really only steps in actively in behalf of a person, city, nation, cause or event when moved by serious prayer and intercession. The reason for this is that Satan is still the lord of this world, and G-d only enters the scene on the basis of man’s free will and explicit request.
Hence, as hard as it may be sometimes to understand G-d’s decision, He was not about to intervene and save Moses from this illness indubitably brought about as mentioned before. But thanks be to G-d, Zipporah understood and did the only right thing at that moment – Moses being disabled by illness – and saved Moses’ life.
Tradition ascribes the omission of the circumcision of his son to the influence of Jethro and Zipporah, who may have desired the circumcision postponed to the 13th year, as was customary among the Beduin tribes.
Dear reader, I hope you can see the tremendous difference between the two episodes, that of Jacob and that of Moses. Scripture does not always give us every detail and reason in one place. We are required to search, read and study carefully until we see the whole story more clearly and come to a truthful and correct understanding. This is according to G-d’s purpose.
G-d is not given to whims like man, nor does he suddenly change His mind or go back on His promises. But He DOES allow our own choices and decisions to take their course, something that is not understood by many Christians. I have heard it said many times, “Why did G-d allow this to happen? These were good Christian people. Why did G-d not protect and save them?” Well, there usually is a reason behind that, and as a rule is to be found on our side, and not on G-d’s.
Did G-d kill the Jews in the Holocaust? NO!!! Did G-d want to kill Moses? NO!!! It is by the consequences of our choices, decisions, actions and omissions that we can be in danger of getting killed. Because G-d allows our choices to take their course if we keep resisting Him (or, as the Bible puts it, “gives us up to our own ways”), it would seem it was He Who killed Moses. But that is not so. We must differentiate between G-d actively seeking to kill someone (such as the nephilim and mankind in Noah’s days 010), or when He just does not intervene to prevent death.
So, now I have spent lots of time trying to help you understand the difference between those two stories. I hope I will have succeeded in shedding more light on it and clarifying some of the misunderstandings of these stories.
Be blessed today and always!
Yours in Yeshua,
09 A quote from page 221 of “The Pentateuch & Haftorahs” by the London Soncino Press, Edited by Dr. J. H. Hertz, Second Edition, 5756-1996 010 Genesis 6:4-7, 13