This is the eleventh article in our series on “Gospel in Genesis” In the last article, we meditated on the life of Jacob. Jacob’s life, as we all know, is a bad example, to teach children or adults. His works make him stand at bottom of bottoms in the list of all Old Testament saints.
His life starts with fighting and ends in Egypt. Such was the magnitude of evil nature in him that it erupted from within him when he was not even born fully in this world. He started fighting with his own brother, in his mother’s womb. He was not yet out in the world, but the nature hidden in him was revealed to the world outside. When Jacob became young, the deceptive lying nature in Jacob made his father his prey. He lied and deceived his father and ran with all the blessings that belonged to his brother.
Imagine your brother taking all your money and running away from home! Haven’t you seen how angry TPM pastors become and how they curse those workers who run away with the money? Jacob also used mental trickery to gather speckled and dotted sheep as his wealth. How many of us believe that men can digest bread earned by tricking others behind their backs? And whom he did trick to gather wealth? He used his tricks against a man who gave him food, water, shelter, and employment in days of his adversity. How many of us have such an ungrateful heart that we scheme to deal with trickery with him who helped us in our bad days? Jacob married twice and went through what is called as love marriage, a social stigma in groups like TPM. He was also partial in behaviour towards his wife and children. He loved his second wife more, which made his first wife Leah feel unloved and depressingly sad all the days of her life. He also loved his younger son (Joseph) and gave him gifts (multicoloured coat), while his other sons felt unloved (This is after his fight with the angel of God).
What kind of father and husband will behave so partially as Jacob did with his children and wives? We can say that he was a pain for everyone around him – be it his parents, or siblings or wife or children or relatives! Yet such a man stands among the chosen ones in scripture! Millions and billions, from ancient Jews to modern-day Christians, pay respect to Jacob, in spite of his unethical life and works. Why is it so? The only reason we all respect him is that God chose him!
Charles Spurgeon once said, “It is a good thing God chose me before I was born because he surely would not have afterwards.” Like Jacob, our works speak against us. None of us will be able to stand before God if God marks our iniquities (Psalms 130:3). We all stand at the bottom of the bottom, if we make a short summary of our lives, from our births. It will be only mercy of God if we will get counted among saved ones in heaven. We all agree that it has been God’s mercy hitherto and his mercy will endure forever (Psalms 136).
The time is ripe, that we begin to see shades of the gospel in the life of Jacob. It will be a miracle only if we can successfully discover Jesus in life as unethical as that of Jacob. We must be amazed at the thought that a man like Jacob can be a pre-figure of Messiah of the whole world!
Jacob’s Life as the New Testament Church
Notice the table below for a comparison of Jacob(Israelites) with the New Testament Church
|JACOB’S LIFE||THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH|
|Jacob is loved before he was born||We are chosen by God for salvation before our births (Eph 1:4,5, Rev 13:8). It is God’s choice from before the foundation of the world. If he didn’t choose us then we wouldn’t be saved (John 15;16).|
|Jacob fights with his brother in mother’s womb||Fighting is an evil nature. We are sinners by birth like Jacob. Nature to fulfil our desires at the expense of other men’s discomfort abides in us from our conceptions (birth – Psalms 51:5).|
|Esau sells his birthright||Israelites reject Messiah and we gentiles get the chance. Paul explains this happened so that we may get blessings of Abraham and may partake in salvation along with them (Rom 11:11, Acts 13:46, Gal 3:14). We must therefore not backslide from faith in Christ just like the Israelites rejected Jesus or like Esau sold his birthright (Heb 12:16, Ro 11:18-20).|
|Deceiver Jacob receives blessings only through his father Isaac(physical descendant of Abraham)||We unworthy sinner gentiles receive blessings of Abraham through Jesus the seed (Gal 3:16)|
|Jacob flees from the wrath of Esau (to Laban’s house), who is the shadow of antichrist (see the previous article)||Church flees to the wilderness from the wrath of Dragon. She is persecuted (Rev 12:13-14).|
|He marries two women, who were his own flesh and blood (relatives). Abraham, Isaac all married in their family. Israelites were not to marry gentiles but only Israelites who were their own kin.||Jews and Gentiles are married to God like two women. The church is made from a rib taken from Christ’s body. We are his flesh and blood, his relatives (Rom 6:5, John 15:5, Eph 5:30).|
|Jacob sees the vision of the heavenly ladder in which angels are going up and down the ladder.||Jesus is the way to heaven the staircase/ ladder which leads earthly men into the presence of God.|
|Struggles with the angel of God to make him confess his sins. He accepted his name is deceiver when asked. He was then renamed as Israel.||We must repent & confess our sinful nature. We must give up our struggle and enmity with God (Col 1:21). Then he will declare us justified instead of sinners like he gave a new name to Jacob. We will be declared overcomer instead of a loser. When the old nature of struggling with God gets defeated, a new name will be given to us.|
|Jacob meets his enemy Esau and is reconciled to him.||Jews who sold birthright and rejected Jesus will be reconciled to God and become one tree with Gentiles (Rom 11:24, 25-26, 28, Gal 3:28, Eph 3:6, Col 3:11).|
|Jacob’s daughter is defiled (raped)||Apostasy of the church; Church is defiled (2 Thess. 2:3)|
Jacob as a prototype to Jesus
As we have been seeing, every biblical hero is a prototype of Jesus, pointing to better and perfect saviour than they all were. Jacob was also God’s way of revealing the Messiah to readers of Genesis. See the striking similarity in the life of Jacob with Jesus.
|God loved Jacob before his birth (Rom 9:10-13).||God loved Jesus before the creation of the world (John 17:24)|
|Jacob left his home and went to suffer at Laban’s house||Jesus left his heavenly home and did ministry on earth to prepare his bride|
|He died as a stranger in Egypt (Gen 49:33)||Jesus died in spiritual Egypt known as Jerusalem in the bible (Rev 11:8)|
|Jacob wore raiment of his brother Esau. He wore goats skin on his hands and neck (Gen 27:15,16)||Jesus took the human form of his brethren Israelites. He is the lamb of God.|
|Jacob was a shepherd (Gen 31:38)||Jesus is the chief shepherd (1 Pet 5:4)|
|Jacob received blessings, “Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee… (Gen 27:29)” Cursed be every one that curses thee and blessed be every one that blesses thee.||God blesses Jesus “..I will give heathen for thy inheritance and the uttermost part of the earth for thy possessions (Psa 2:6-9, Phil 2:10).”Everyone who rejects Christ will perish and everyone who accepts Christ will be saved|
|Jacob married his two wives in a foreign land took them to his home back from their pagan parents||Jesus unites old and new testament church and will take the church into his heavenly abode back from worshipping pagan gods to true God|
|Jacob was a man of sorrows (Gen 47:9)||Jesus was a man of sorrows (Isa 53:3)|
|Jacob had 12 children who make up nation Israel||Jesus has twelve disciples on which the new testament church is formed|
Jacob’s Fight with the Angel
The story of Jacob fighting with the angel is quite renowned among Christians. I usually cherish A W Tozer’s interpretation on this passage (click here). But since we are trying to find shades of Gospel here, we will try to see Jacob’s fight as the passion of Jesus Christ, in the garden of Gethsemane. See table below for some remarkable similarities between the two events presented in scriptures.
|Jacob’s night with the angel||Jesus prays in the garden of Gethsemane|
|Jacob is on the return journey to his home (Gen 32:1)||Jesus set his face towards Jerusalem during his last days on earth (Luke 9:51)|
|Jacob sends his people away from him. He is finally left alone (Gen 32:22,24)||Jesus was all alone in prayer leaving his disciples at a distance from him (Matt 26:36, Luke 22:41)|
|Fights all night (Gen 32:24)||Prays through night|
|Fought with the angel all night (Gen 32:24)||Angel gave him strength (Luke 22:43)|
|Jacob wept and made supplications (Hosea 12:4)||With strong tears and crying he prayed and made supplications (Heb 5:7)|
As we walk through this series and behold how God’s Spirit has wonderfully scripted the life of Jesus in all the lives of holy men in the bible. God is the designer, writer, director, cinematographer of stories we see in Genesis. He is not a mere historian who has recorded events as they happened, by choices which human freewill made in past. Is human freewill like a puppet in hand of God in the grand scheme of things designed by God, or is human freewill the creator of its own destinies?
We will not debate on it as it is unending debate and we lack complete knowledge of God’s working. You can conclude your own observation as we progress ahead and decide whether you are the sculptor of your salvation, (whether your consecration and choices, decide your eternity) or is God the grand weaver of our salvation and destinies!
Let TPM workers decide what their teachings are making people believe!