About Jesus Steve Sweetman
In verse 41 we see the
rage of Esau. He knew that
Isaac's days were numbered. He
was old and close to dying. His
plan was to kill Jacob after his father died.
Once again we see fierce rage between brothers, as we did with
Cain and Abel. We also
continue to see the nature of Esau. As the book of Hebrews says, he was
a wicked man, and I'm sure God knew this. That's partly why God loved
Jacob and hated Esau.
Rebekah was told by
someone, we don't know who, that Esau wanted to kill Jacob to consol
himself. So she tells Jacob
the plans of Esau that was passed on to her.
I think Rebekah was constantly concerned with Esau and the things
he did, especially when they affected Jacob.
She said that Esau "is consoling himself" with the idea
of killing Jacob. This means
that in Esau's mind, he would feel much better about his life if his
brother was dead, and so that was what he wanted to do and that scared
Rebekah. Remember, Rebekah
not only favored Jacob over Esau, but God told her that the Abrahamic
Covenant would be fulfilled through Jacob, not Esau.
This was in the back of her mind.
No harm, and especially not death could come to Jacob.
In verses 43 and 44
Rebekah came up with yet another idea.
She seems to be the one with ideas in the family, especially when
they relate to Jacob. She
wanted Jacob to flee to her brother's place back east in Haran. Her brother was Laban.
Jacob could stay there until Esau's fury subsided.
Verse 45 is a bit ironic.
Rebekah told Jacob that she would send for him when Esau's anger
subsided. She said
that Esau's anger was based on the fact of what Jacob did to him.
Well, it was just as much Rebekah as it was Jacob.
Maybe Esau didn't even know that it was his mother's plan in the
first place that would cause him to lose his blessing from Isaac.
That could well be the case.
He didn't seem to be angry at his mother, or at least there is no
mention of it.
Rebekah asked, "why
should I lose both of you in one day?"
I'm not totally sure what she meant.
If Jacob was killed, I understand how she would lose him.
But how could she lose Esau?
It is possible that she'd lose any relationship she had left with
Esau. Maybe she was not
thinking in terms of Esau dying, unless someone else would kill him for
killing Jacob. That could
easily be the case. I'm not
convinced she actually had a good relationship with Esau because of the
favoritism she showed to Jacob.
Verse 46 shows Rebekah's
feelings concerning the Hittite women that Esau married.
For some reason she found them unbearable to live with.
She said her life was not worth living if Jacob ended up marrying
a Hittite woman like his brother.
This might be another reason why she wanted Jacob to go to her
brother Laban's household. She
might have thought that maybe Jacob would find a wife there and not
marry a Hittite. Remember,
God did not want mixture in the family of Abraham.
Men were not permitted to marry outside the extended family of
Abraham, as Esau did.
Isaac now comes into the
picture in chapter 28 verse 1. In
verses 1 and 2 Isaac tells Jacob to take for himself a wife from his
mother's brother's family. In
the last few verses it appears that the main reason why Rebekah wanted
Jacob to go to Laban's place was for protection from Esau.
We don't know if Isaac knew of Esau's hatred towards Jacob and
his desire to kill him. Rebekah
wanted Jacob to leave because she feared what Esau might do to him.
Isaac wanted Jacob to leave so he could find a wife in his
It also appears that now
Isaac has finally accepted the fact that God's choice for the family's
leadership was Jacob, not Esau.
Some people feel that
Rebekah is conniving here. She
wants Jacob to leave because of fear for his life.
She doesn't really tell Isaac that.
She tells him that she is greatly disturbed over the idea that
Jacob might marry a Hittite woman.
That might have gotten Isaac concerned, so he blessed Jacob and
sent him off to Laban's household. Thus
Rebekah gets her way without having to tell Isaac her real reason to
send Jacob away. This may or
not be the case. We
certainly don't know the whole conversation Isaac and Rebekah had.
They could have talked all these things over.
In verse 3 we see the
term "God Almighty." The
Hebrew for this is "El Shaddai".
"Shaddai" is the Hebrew word for "almighty"
or "all powerful". It's
earliest usage seems to mean "the Mountain One", that might
signify strength and the almighty nature of God.
It is interesting that in
Exodus 6:3 God told Moses that He appeared to the patriarchs, that is
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as "El Shaddai", not
we see the term "Yahweh" a lot in Genesis, but do not see the
term "El Shaddai" that much.
Yet, although we don't see the term "El Shaddai" much,
what we do see is that when God appeared to these men, He did appear as
the Almighty One, although not so named. When God appeared to anyone in
Genesis, He came to them as the almighty creator God of all things.
Even though the term
"Yahweh" is used lots in Genesis, it is highly thought that
the term was not completely understood until Moses' day when God told
Moses that "Yahweh" was His name.
Here we see the progressive nature of the understanding of God in
he Old Testament.
I do believe there is a
progressive revelation of God as seen in the book of Genesis that I
believe carries on beyond Genesis. One
thing is important here. I
do not believe that God in this present age is still revealing Himself
in a progressive way. Some
believe this to be true, and that is why we have Mormonism, and many
other religions today. Mormons
would say that Joseph Smith has brought forth a new revelation of God to
the earth. I don't think so.
I believe that God revealed Himself in Jesus, and that revelation
stands as the only revelation of God for our age.
I'm not saying that God
doesn't speak to people today, and reveal Himself and his plans for an
individual life. I'm not
talking about that. I'm
talking specifically about a revelation of who God is, not what he wants
of us. For example, in
Genesis we first see God as Elohim, then as Yahweh, and even that is
partial. Then comes Adonai
and El Shaddai. All
these names tell us something about who God is.
The last revelation to tell us who God is was found in Jesus, and
you can't get a better revelation than that.
We are now about to see
the Abrahamic Covenant once again. We've
seen the covenant spoken to Abraham.
God spoke it to Isaac, and now through Isaac it is spoken to
Jacob. The first covenantal
promise that Isaac speaks of in the form of a blessing to Jacob is that
his descendents would be many. You
might also remember that this was also part of the blessing when Isaac
gave Jacob his birthright.
In verse 4 we see the
land promise restated. The
land was promised to Abraham, and Isaac blessed Jacob by saying that
even though he is now an alien in the land, may he one day possess the
land. He never really
did. The word "he' is
the corporate "he", who is Israel, who Jacob represented. This
promise will be fulfilled by Jesus when He returns to earth and gives
the land to Israel
at that time. The Jews for
the most part, have always been an alien in their own land, and to some
degree they are today because of all the controversy, and the world
desire to see
Verse 5 simply states
that Jacob left on this trip.
In verses 6
through 9 Esau came back into the picture.
He had heard that Isaac blessed Jacob once again and had sent him
off to marry a wife from Rebekah's family.
The text states that Esau knew that his Hittite wives displeased
his parents. I'm sure that
this did not just dawn on him at this point.
But the fact that Jacob was now going to find a wife that would
please his parents got him thinking, so he went and found another wife
from the family of Ishmael, the son born to Abraham by his servant
Hagar. This was yet another
attempt by a godless man to do something that looked godly, yet not
understanding spiritual things. Esau got it wrong.
Wives were not to come through Ishmael's line, because that
lineage was defiled since Hagar was an Egyptian.
And that is the way it is with secular man today.
When trying to speak about or imitate spiritual and Biblical
things, they just get it all wrong.
They just don't understand.
This is also another
example of how Esau seemed to always try to compete with his brother
Jacob. The competition began
in Rebekah's womb and lasted throughout the brother's lives.
In verses 10 and 11 we
see that Jacob is well on his way to
In verse 12 we see that God spoke to Jacob in a dream. He saw a stairway that reached from heaven to earth. Some translations use the word ladder, but stairway probably gives us a better picture. The text also says that angels ascended and descended on this stairway. Some Bible teachers make a point by noting that the angels first ascended into heaven before they returned. They suggest that this signifies that these angels were already with Jacob, meaning he was in the will of God. They would leave him, go to heaven, and then return to him. I'm not sure we can really make this point, but many do.
words ascend and descend reminds me of what Jesus told Nathanael in John
1:51. Jesus said the Nathanael would see what Jacob saw here,
angels ascending and descending from heaven. Somehow I believe
that the dream Jacob had has something to do with Jesus and the
anointing that He had.
In the dream we see in
verse 13 that Jacob saw the Lord God,
That's "Yahweh Elohim", the God of his fathers Abraham
and Isaac. "Yahweh
Elohim" means that Almighty Creator I Am".
There is a bit of discrepancy to whether God was standing at the
top of the stairway or beside Jacob.
Both renderings seem to be somewhat acceptable, although the NIV
favors the idea God as being at the top of the stairway.
At this point, God
re-affirms the Abrahamic Covenant to Jacob that relates to him and his
descendents possessing the
God also said that
Jacob's descendents would spread out to the west, east, north, and
south. There are specific
borders mentioned elsewhere concerning the boundaries of this promised
land. What might be spoken
of here is that Israel's influence throughout the world will spread out in all four
Also in verse 14 is
another aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant.
All people's of the earth would be blessed through both Abraham's
descendents and his offspring. As
we have noted many times, because Paul in Galatians 3 defines the word
"offspring" here as Jesus, that is how we need to think of it.
So what God is saying here is that through Jesus and
Verse 15 is interesting.
God tells Jacob that He will watch over him.
The word "him" refers to Jacob.
God is encouraging Jacob, but I think the word "him"
has farther reaches to its meaning.
God also said that He would bring "him" back to the
land, and not leave "him" until this promise is fulfilled.
Who is the "him" spoken of here?
As I said with the word "he" earlier, the word
"him" refers to the "corporate him", that is
So we now have the
Abrahamic Covenant passed on not only to Isaac, but also to Jacob.
Throughout the Old Testament we will be reminded of this
I think it is a bit
interesting to note that the Abrahamic Covenant was passed on to Jacob
and not Esau. We already
knew this would be the case. The
lineage of Jacob would produce the offspring, that's Jesus, the Covenant
We see Jacob being amazed
in verse 16. He said,
"surely the Lord was in this place and I was not aware of it".
It seems to me that Jacob thought that God was there all along,
because of the angels ascending and descending.
Some might suggest that was just Jacob's thinking.
God only appeared to Jacob there.
He wasn't always there.
If Jacob is correct, that
is, if the angels had been there before he got there, I find it
interesting. This place,
this land was special to God, so special that angels would move back and
forth from heaven. It makes
one wonder that if this has not always been the case throughout history.
It makes one wonder if it is not the case now.
God appears to be protecting this land, keeping an eye on it for
the future promised land. This
reminds me of the time when the devil showed Jesus all the land around Jerusalem. The devil acted as if this
was his land. He said that
Jesus could have the land if He would serve him.
I'm sure the devil wanted, and still wants the promised land for
himself. That's pretty
ironic. The land belonged to
If Jacob was right, then
there's a Sunday morning message here.
How many people are in, or have been in the presence of God and
have not known it. We've all
been in meetings where the Lord's presence is extremely powerful, but
not everyone experiences it, and you wonder how this could be.
Well, if Jacob is right, it can be.
It's a matter of God's sovereign choice and possibly a matter of
the heart of the person not experiencing
We see in verses 19 and
20 that Jacob took the stone that he rested his head upon
and used it as a memorial and called the place Bethel.
In verses 20 to 22 Jacob
promised God that if He did look after him on the trip he was taking,
that this stone would be a memorial to God, and that he would give to
God a tenth of all he had. Clearly
a tenth is a tithe. It
is thus fairly clear that in Jacob's day there was some kind of
understanding about giving a tithe to God, although to date in Genesis
we've only seen the concept once before, and that was when Abraham gave
a tenth of his spoils of war to Melchizedek. What
we need to understand here in Genesis 28 is that it was Jacob's idea to
give a tenth. We can't say conclusively that it was God's idea, although
some might think it was God's idea.
Still, we do not know for sure whose idea it was here in Genesis
28. I will not get involved
in the discussion here since I've done so elsewhere, but I do not
believe tithing is for New Testament Christians, and I also don't think
you can use this verse to support tithing for New Testament Christians.
Tithing was incorporated into the Law of Moses, and we know from
Paul that Christ is the end of the Law as seen in Romans 10:4.
The Law of Moses was nailed to the cross with Jesus, and that
includes the tithing laws, and I say "laws" plural, since
there were many.
Any discussion concerning
tithing prior to the Law of Moses is based on much speculation.
We do have a couple instances where tithing is mentioned, but
there is not enough said about it to draw any real conclusions other
than it was practiced on a couple of occasions.
So you cannot prove tithing for New Testament Christians based on
a couple passages in Genesis.