Moses' seventh speech, Part 4, Protecting Esau's rights
Mar 01, 2013
The divine law protects the property rights of all men. The right of the first-born to receive the birthright was one of those applications. Though it was prophesied in Genesis 25:23 that “the older shall serve the younger,” this had to be fulfilled in a lawful manner. Esau’s right as first-born was not to be violated.
Jacob purchased the birthright from Esau in Genesis 25:29-34 at a time when Esau “was famished” (vs. 29). The story concludes, “Thus Esau despised his birthright” (vs. 34). Although Esau is criticized for this, it is clear also that Jacob took advantage of his hunger. This is not the way for any man to love his brother—which is the divine standard of behavior, not only in the New Testament but also in the law. So Jacob was partially to blame as well.
Later, when Isaac thought he was dying, he decided to bless his first-born in an official ceremony that would transfer the birthright to Esau. When their mother, Rebekah, heard of it, she devised a plan whereby Jacob would pretend to be Esau in order to obtain the blessing by stealth. This only succeeded because Isaac was blind. Even so, Isaac’s hearing had sharpened, and he detected Jacob’s voice when he said, “I am Esau your first-born” (Genesis 27:19).
Isaac was doubtful, so he asked him again in verse 24, “Are you really my son Esau?” Jacob answered, “I am.”
Some have tried to justify Jacob’s actions and place the blame on Isaac for refusing to recognize the earlier bargain when Esau sold the birthright to Jacob. But Isaac had the right to veto that sale, if he thought it had been done under duress. Furthermore, we might ask if the birthright had been Esau’s to sell, seeing that Isaac yet held it. Perhaps we can see it as the first futures contract.
At any rate, the sale was not done in love, and the blessing was obtained by a lie. These violations of law gave Esau legal cause against Jacob, which would affect their descendants throughout history even to the present day. Isaac did not take back the blessing once he had bestowed it upon Jacob, but yet he understood that at some point in history this injustice toward Esau would have to be adjudicated and settled lawfully.
Esau begged his father for some blessing that might remain over and beyond what had been given to his brother, and here we are given a key revelation that is often overlooked by prophecy teachers. In Genesis 27:40 Isaac tells Esau,
40 And by your sword you shall live, and your brother you shall serve; but it shall come about when you become restless, that you shall break his yoke from your neck.
The NASB (above) is not a good translation. Young’s Literal Translation reads, “when thou rulest, that thou hast broken his yoke from off thy neck.”
This is similar to the KJV, “when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.”
We may ask how the Hebrew scholars understood this verse two or three centuries before Christ when they translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. Their Septuagint Translation reads, “and there shall be a time when thou shalt break and loosen his yoke from off thy neck.”
It is clear that Isaac was telling Esau that after serving his brother for a season, he would ultimately cast off that yoke. This was not only a prophecy; it was divine retribution upon Jacob for the lawless manner in which he had obtained the birthright. When we understand the judicial process involved in this, it is clear that at some point in history Jacob would be required to give the birthright back to Esau and allow God to transfer it to Jacob in a lawful manner.
When a man steals or obtains property by fraud, the only way to rectify the situation is to reverse the original crime. Isaac discerned that he did not have the right or power to rectify the situation that might have protected Esau’s rights. So he left it in the hands of God, recognizing only that at some point in history Esau would have to receive the “dominion” that was inherent in the birthright. He knew that God was just, and he recognized that Jacob’s sin would have consequences in the future.
History marched on for thousands of years without seeing Isaac’s prophecy fulfilled. But God had not forgotten, for He is a just God, giving all men their due. Esau’s descendants became known by the Hebrew name Edom, and later by the Greek name Idumea. (Edom = Idum.) The Idumeans were conquered, forcibly converted, and absorbed into Judaism in 126 B.C. Hence, they lost not only their independence but their identity as well.
Jewry thus took upon itself a dual role, having to fulfill not only the prophecies of Judah, but also those of Edom.
Jeremiah divided Judah into two groups, one good and one evil, which played out in his own time as well as in the New Testament. The violent ones who chafed and fought against Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, were those pictured by the basket of evil figs, while those who submitted to the divine judgment were pictured by the basket of good figs.
Thus, in the New Testament time, the good figs were led by Jesus, who had no desire to lead a revolution against Rome, while the evil figs fought and died when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. When the followers of Christ were separated from the temple and Christianity was no longer considered to be a mere sect of Judaism, the two types of figs became clearly separated into two baskets—as Jeremiah saw them.
Meanwhile, the evil figs had united with the Idumeans in the war, even while the good figs were being separated from them. It actually took four generations before the Idumeans were considered to be full Jews, according to rabbinical belief. This was accomplished between 126 B.C. and 70 A.D., as we see from The Jewish Encyclopedia under Edom:
“From this time [126 B.C.] the Idumeans ceased to be a separate people, though the name ‘Idumea’ still existed in the time of Jerome.
“According to the Law (Deut. xxiii. 8, 9), the congregation could not receive descendants of a marriage between an Israelite and an Edomite until the fourth generation. This law was a subject of controversy between R. Simeon and other Talmudists, who maintained that female descendants were also excluded until the fourth generation, contrary to R. Simeon, who regarded the limitation as applicable in only to male descendants (Yeb. 76b).”
Hence, by their own understanding of the law, the Edomites were fully absorbed into Jewry by the time Rome destroyed Jerusalem. The problem was that they, like the Judeans, rejected the Mediator of the New Covenant and His peaceful rule, choosing instead to act like the evil figs of Jeremiah 24. Of course, if there were any Edomites among the followers of Jesus, whether in the first century or afterward, the blood of the cross would have transferred their citizenship to the Kingdom of Christ and erased any curse inherited from their forefathers.
For the next 1900 years the Jews remained under the dominion of Rome and the prophetic extensions of this iron beast. Likewise, Edom remained in Jewry, and the history of Edom was forgotten. Without Edomites as such to fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea, the rabbis spiritualized those prophecies and applied them to Rome and the Church of Rome. The Jewish Encyclopedia reads under Edom,
“The name ‘Edom’ is used by the Talmudists for the Roman empire, and they applied to Rome every passage of the Bible referring to Edom or to Esau.”
This is quoted from the 1903 edition which I have in my office. The 1925 edition admits, “Edom is in modern Jewry.” So the question remains about how Isaac’s prophecy was to be fulfilled. How could Esau throw off the yoke of Jacob? How could God give the birthright back to Esau in order to do him justice?
The answer to this question is possible only when we understand that Edom is represented in modern Jewry, as virtually all historians and even the Jewish Encyclopedia itself admits.
Modern Zionism broke the yoke from Esau’s neck when the Israel state was established in 1948. The violence and terrorism that was used to expel the British from Palestine was characteristic of Edom and the words of Isaac to Esau, saying, “By your sword you shall live.” One only has to read Menachem Begin’s 1951 book, The Revolt: Story of the Irgun, to learn of this in his own words. He writes in his Introduction,
“But I have written this book also for Gentiles, lest they be unwilling to realize, or all too ready to overlook, the fact that out of blood and fire and tears and ashes a new specimen of human being was born, a specimen completely unknown to the world for over eighteen hundred years, ‘the FIGHTING JEW.’ That Jew, whom the world has considered dead and buried never to rise again, has arisen.”
Introducing himself, Begin wrote further,
“After all, for years the author fought against the British authorities. He was described by British newspapers, by Members of both Houses of Parliament, by Ministers of State, by generals, admirals, bishops, lawyers, and all the other dramatis personae… as ‘Terrorist Number One’ in Eretz Israel, then called Palestine and ruled by the British government.”
With Menachem Begin—later to become Prime Minister of Israel—came the rise of modern terrorism, which the Arabs soon copied in their own struggle for freedom. The reinvention of “the fighting Jew” was modeled after the Jewish Revolt against Rome from 66-73 A.D. and from the Bar Cochba Revolt from 132-135 A.D. These revolts, in turn, violated the will of God by refusing to recognize that God Himself had judged the nation and put them into a long captivity to the four beasts of Daniel 2 and 7. The basket of evil figs was thus seen in the fight against Babylon, again in the fight against Rome, and finally in the terrorism of modern Zionism.
The only reason that Zionism succeeded is because of Isaac’s promise to Esau in Genesis 27:40, “you shall break his yoke from your neck.” The British represented Jacob in this scenario, not only because they controlled Palestine at the time, but because they (along with others) are physical descendants of Jacob. The Israelites as a whole had been deported to Assyria from 745-721 B.C., where they were called Gimirra (from Ghomri, i.e., Omri). When Assyria fell in 612 B.C., many of these ex-Israelites immigrated north and west into Europe through the Caucasus Mountains. Hence, historians refer to them generally as Caucasian, although many other names are used as well. For more information, see my book, Who is an Israelite?
The British flag is known as “Union Jack.” Jack is short for Jacob. Hence, when the British flag was lowered for the last time on May 13, 1948, and replaced by the Israeli flag, the moment had arrived when modern Jacob gave the birthright back to the modern Zionist representatives of Esau. And so the prophecy of Malachi 1:4 was fulfilled,
4 Though Edom says, “We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins”; thus says the Lord of hosts, “They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the wicked territory, and the people toward whom the Lord is indignant forever.”
This was accomplished by the same stealth whereby Jacob had obtained the birthright in Genesis 27. Even as Jacob had pretended to be Esau to obtain the birthright, so also did Esau pretend to be Jacob to get it back. One case of mistaken identity deserves another, and so the law of equal justice was fulfilled with great precision. Even as Isaac, the chosen one, had to be blind in order to be fooled by Jacob, so also did the Church have to be blind in order to be fooled by Esau. Hence, God says in Isaiah 42:19, “Who is so blind but My servant?”
The only question that yet remains is how long Esau will be in possession of the birthright. We only know that God requires Esau-Edom to fully prove himself unworthy before he is stripped of the birthright. Jacob had taken it from Esau before Esau had had time to prove himself. The Zionists have retained the birthright since 1948, even calling themselves Israel, the birthright name. In that time they have continued to reject Jesus Christ, they have lived by the sword, they have denied equal rights to the aliens among them, they have violated the law of God, and have in every way acted in accordance with the character of Esau-Edom.
We know from Scripture that Esau will not be the ultimate inheritor of the birthright, for God chose Jacob before the children were born (Romans 9:11). But the outworking of that prophecy has been long and arduous, complete with violations of the law that God would have to rectify. Yet in the end, Isaiah 34 prophesies that this controversy between Jacob and Esau will be settled.
2 For the Lord’s indignation is against all the nations…. 4 all their host will also wither away as a leaf withers from the vine, or as one withers from the [evil] fig tree. 5 For My sword is satiated in heaven, behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom, and upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction… 6 For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom… 8 For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause [“controversy”] of Zion.
The next verses appear to describe a nuclear war, similar to what is described earlier in Isaiah 29:5-6. In other words, this controversy between Jacob and Esau will be settled by nuclear war, in which NO ONE can inhabit Jerusalem and Palestine in general. This is clear from Isaiah 29:7-8, as I have explained elsewhere.
Yet through it all, God cannot be accused of perpetuating an injustice upon Esau. Neither can God be accused of allowing Jacob to get away with a lie in obtaining the birthright. Esau’s rights as the first-born son of Isaac were violated long ago, but God has finally seen fit to judge the case and to restore the right of the first-born to Esau. Only when Esau’s rights have been fully restored will God then move to bring judgment upon Esau for his violation of the law.
This is the fourth part of a series titled "Moses' Seventh Speech." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones