Toldot – Generations

Torah Portion: Genesis 25:19 through Genesis 28:9
Haftarah: Malachi 1:1-2:7
New Testament: Mat 25:31-46, James 3:6

Meeting of Isaac and Rebecca, by Friedrich Bouterwek (1841) - Rebekah will fall off that camel any minute!
Meeting of Isaac and Rebecca, by Friedrich Bouterwek (1841) – Rebekah will fall off that camel any minute!

We ended last week with a glorious love story. Abraham’s servant found the perfect bride for Isaac and she readily agreed to “come out from among them and be ye separate.”  (2 Co 6:17)  Rebekah fell off her camel when she caught sight of her betrothed and, as soon as the bride made herself ready, the captivated Isaac ushered the beautiful virgin into Sarah’s tent and made her his wife.  It was then that he loved her and was comforted after Sarah’s death.  However, it soon became clear that, like Abraham and Sarah, the couple would struggle with infertility.

 Faith Cannot be Inherited

In our last two lessons, we noted the utter “unitedness” of Abraham and Isaac in the trial of the akeida (the binding of Isaac) as well as in the search for a bride for Isaac.  In both cases Isaac was content to let his father lead.  Isaac’s faith in his father was as unwavering as was Abraham’s faith in God. Thus, Isaac presented a beautiful picture of Yeshua, who spoke only the words of His father and did only what He saw His father do.

But, now, at age 40, Isaac’s own faith in God must be developed.  Further, the “unitedness” enjoyed by father and son must now transfer to husband and wife.  Forty is the number of testing and trials: Isaac and Rebecca, like Abraham and Sarah, will have plenty of both to forge their faith.

Barrenness

Though Rebekah’s womb remained empty month after month and year after year, the couple did not give in to the polygamous culture and seek a second wife or concubine.  Surely Abraham warned his son of the consequences of doing so.  (Although the Torah reported Abraham’s death last week in Chai Sarah, at this point in the historical record, he is still alive, though now silent in the background.)

And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived (Gen 25:21)

Rembrandt's vision of the expectant couple.
Rembrandt’s vision of the expectant couple.

The Stone Chumash translates this verse to read that Isaac “prayed opposite his wife,” and explains they were BOTH praying.  The sages surmise that ultimately Isaac took Rebekah to Moriah and effectively cried out, “God, you PROMISED!”

Finally, in their 20th year, Rebekah was pregnant!

An Epic Struggle Begins

The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.  (Gen 25:22-23)

twins in womb

The battle between these brothers was intense from the womb and not only affected their entire lives, but, even today, still intensely affects the lives of their children.  It is the consummate battle of good versus evil, spirit versus flesh, which will affect the entire earth until Yeshua returns.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks proposes that the Hebrew phrase rendered in English bibles as “the older shall serve the younger” can actually also be rendered in the reverse.  He explains it as an intentionally opaque, deliberately ambiguous phrase that suggests an ongoing conflict between Jacob and Esau in every generation.  (To read more, see Rabbi Sacks’ commentary on Toldot.)

The battle is really about who will receive the birthright, which Scripture tells us, Esau despised:

Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that Jacob and Esau trade for birthrightred stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. (Gen 25:29-34)

The Birthright

In the days of the patriarchs, when a man died, the eldest son inherited a double portion of the father’s wealth along with the responsibility to care for the extended family.

The role of patriarch was a complex responsibility that was not only time-consuming, but could be dangerous, as well as thankless. (Recall Abraham and Lot.)  The elder brother was responsible to negotiate on behalf of the family, mediate family disputes, counsel family members, rescue them from debt and danger, return them to the flock and employ them himself if need be.   The ultimate goal was to teach him how to prosper in all areas and teach others likewise.  This is the idea of true discipleship.   But by far the most important aspect of this roles was the responsibility to be the family priest, to intercede for each family member and to offer sacrifices on their behalf.  Yeshua, our High Priest, is the preeminent Elder Brother.  

But, Esau had no intention of pouring himself out for the family and that fact was undoubtedly made quite clear, at least to Rebecca.

Why did Isaac favor Esau?   The sages say that the phrase “Isaac loved Esau, for game was in his mouth” (Gen 25:28) is actually word play.   008-esau-jacobWhile Esau was a literal hunter of game, he also played games with his father, pretending to be pious while scheming behind his father’s back.  Some commentaries suggest that Isaac’s physical blindness was punishment for his refusal to recognize and confront Esau’s sin, much like Eli the High Priest in regard to his own wicked sons, Hophni and Phinehas (see chapters 1 & 2 of 1st Samuel).

The Usurper?

Jacob, on the other hand, is described as “a complete [Heb תָּם tam – perfect, complete, wholesome, innocent] man, dwelling in tents.” (Gen 25:27)  The sages say that this not only means he enjoyed the life of a simple shepherd, he was devoted to the Word of God and to family responsibilities.  The word tam, translated as “complete,” “plain,” or “quiet” in most English translations, carries the additional meanings of gentle, pious, dear, undefiled, and upright and is strongly related to the word tawmeem (blameless, spotless, complete) which we have emphasized in the last few lessons.

Absolutely nothing about this word pictures duplicity or underhandedness.   No wonder Rebekah loved Jacob!

Much has been written in both Jewish and Christian commentary about Jacob being a trickster and deceiver; but God’s opinion of him is obviously quite different. So, how did Jacob arrive at such a reputation?

We’re all familiar with the story of the day when Isaac called Esau to his side and gave him instructions so that he could bless him before he died. (Gen 27)  Rebekah happened to overhear the conversation and, assuming that Isaac intended to convey the heritage of Abraham, quickly devised a plot to make sure Jacob was the object of the blessing.

We will come back to Rebekah in a moment; but let’s stop and consider the actual blessing, intended for Esau, which Jacob received as a result of falling into the trap of his mother’s “better idea.”  (We noted last week that Rebekah’s name means “ensnarer,” according to Brown, Driver, Briggs Lexicon.)

May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine.  Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.  Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!” (Gen 27:28-29)

These blessings are indeed of wealth and power, according to Rabbi Sacks; but they are not the blessing of the covenant, which Jacob would later receive before departing for Paddan Aram.  In Sacks’ view, pointing out that Esau had taken two wives from among the Canaanites, Isaac was not as spiritually blind as Rebekah assumed.

When Esau was forty years old, he took Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite to be his wife, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah. (Gen 26:34-35)

At some point, due to famine, Isaac moved his tent to Gerar in the region of the Philistines,   where God appeared to him and entered into covenant with him:

Spring in the Gerar Valley
Spring in the Gerar Valley

And the LORD appeared to him [at Gerar] and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you.  Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.  I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands.  And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”   So Isaac settled in Gerar.  (Gen 26:1-6)

The significance of this brief account is that, Isaac, now picturing the Bride, has been swept into the arms of the Bridegroom.  With this personal experience of intimacy with God, Isaac’s faith is spawned.  He no longer has to rely exclusively on what Abraham has told him.  Now Isaac knows for himself the purpose of the covenant, why he has been chosen, why he and his offspring will be blessed, and what God loved most about Abraham:

because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” (Gen 26:5)

Gerar is thought to mean “chew the cud.”  Perhaps God wanted Isaac to meditate on the intense struggle between his two sons and to consider the importance of choosing the right successor.

Battle for the Wells

In Gerar, Isaac “waxed great.” (Gen 26:13 ASV)  He became very wealthy and the Philistines envied him.

Isaac began to re-dig the wells that his father had dug during his sojourn in Gerar, which the Philistines had filled up to obliterate the fact that Abraham had ever been there.  There arose an intense struggle over ownership of the wells.  Isaac named the first well “Esek,” which means “contention”; the second he named “Sitnah” which is “strife”; and the third he named “Rehobeth” which means “wide places or streets.”  Thereby did God demonstrate to Isaac the three phases that children of faith throughout history would undergo on the way to the land that would become their home for all eternity.

The Plot Thickens

Perhaps, proposes Rabbi Sacks, when it came time to choose a successor, Isaac fully recognized the diverse natures of his two sons and knew full well that Jacob alone was fit to assume the obligations of covenant partner. Sacks theorizes that out of unconditional love for his firstborn, Isaac prepared TWO SETS of blessings, one for each of his sons.  In any event, the divinely orchestrated circumstances would prove a refiner’s fire for the entire family.

Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau.  So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me game and prepare for me delicious food, that I may eat it and bless you before the LORD before I die.’  Now therefore, my Rebecca Instructs Jacobson, obey my voice as I command you.  Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves.  And you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.”  But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man.  Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him and bring a curse upon myself and not a blessing.”  His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, bring them to me.” (Gen 27:5-13­)

The plot is not only complex; it is utterly dependent upon Heaven – for if Esau had returned first, the truth would have been exposed.  Notice that Rebekah did not ask Jacob’s opinion as to what should be done.  Instead, she issued a command to which Jacob, to his credit, objects, lest he receive a curse from his father.  But, Rebekah quickly dismisses Jacob’s concern by saying, “Let your curse be on me.”

The Sin of Presumption

Rebekah most certainly had no clue what a bitter harvest her words would reap.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  (Prov 18:21 KJV)

Sadly, after this story, Rebekah disappears altogether from the pages of history.   By failing to believe that God is Sovereign and that it is He who orchestrates the details of our lives, Rebekah unwittingly  brought reproach upon her beloved Jacob. For the rest of his life, and throughout history, Jacob and his descendants would have the reputation of being “tricksters.” Further, there is no record of Rebecca’s burial, no hint that she ever saw Jacob again after she sent him to Paddan Aram, no clue that she ever held her grand-babies on her lap.  Her last recorded words express weariness over Esau taking even more Canaanite wives (Gen 27:46), and then she simply disappears.

It is heart wrenching.  I am certain she only wanted the best for everyone concerned.  My dear children, please beware! Even when you think you are absolutely certain that you know what is best for you or your loved ones, get on your face and pray, pray, pray before you take matters into your own hands, especially if you intend to go against your husband or someone else in authority over you or your loved one.  The results can reach deep into generations and “set on fire the course of hell.” (James 3:6)

Surrender the situation to your Heavenly Father. Go into your prayer closet and shut the door. Pray until you have peace that God is in control and that nothing is impossible for Him.  Humbly ask Him for His very best and not second best for the situation, and, by faith, thank Him in advance that He is going to give you that, recognizingprayer that your idea of “best” may not look like His.  He sees the future.  He knows what is best in the long term.  He is fully trustworthy and He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than all we can ask or think.  This is the key to peace that passes all understanding.  This is the key to humility and a heart free of bitterness.  This is the key to being able to thank Him for all things.

Such situations as these arise for the testing of our faith and are designed to reveal motives that would otherwise remain hidden. Be very sure that lying, scheming, and manipulating are an abomination to our Father. Anything that requires these things is a SNARE!

“There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” (Prov 6:16-19)

Usurping authority is nothing short of rebellion, the fruit of pride. When King Saul took matters into his own hands and usurped the authority of Samuel, the High Priest, the LORD told him,

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” (1 Sam 15:23 KJV)

And, yes, a husband has God-given authority over his family.  I must admit, I have had to learn this the hard way, by receiving well-deserved stripes of affliction numerous times.  I am extremely grateful for Abba’s patience with me and His mercy to open my eyes to see this truth and be able to confess my sin, be forgiven, and be taught His ways.

Beauty from Ashes, Justice Out of Evil

Rebekah’s snare proved a crucible for both sons.  Jacob had to flee for his life to the House of Laban where he was met with treachery and fraud for twenty years, and, in addition, had to endure the same treatment from his own sons, as we will see over the next several weeks.

But, through it all, God would be faithful to Jacob, using all of it to mold the one who would be re-named “Israel,” the “prince with God,” or “he who overcomes with God,” or “he who prevails with God.”

As for Esau, his reaction to his mother’s ploy proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was completely unsuitable to inherit the blessings of Abraham.

          As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting.  He also prepared delicious food and brought it to his father.   And he said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.”  His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?”   He answered, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.”   Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him?  Yes, and he shall be blessed.”

angry          As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.”   Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob?   For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” 

          Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him.   What then can I do for you, my son?” Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.  (Gen 27:30-40)

There is a weeping that avails much and a weeping that avails nothing.   Esau wept not in repentance for his own sin that was the real cause of the blessing going to Jacob.   His tears, born out of the sting of rejection and trickery, would soon give way to bitterness and murderous intent.

Even though Isaac was shocked and dismayed that Jacob has deceived him, by the Spirit of God, he answered,

“Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you grow restless you shall break his yoke from your neck.” Gen 27:39-40

The Enmity of the Serpent

Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” (Gen 27: 41)

And, so, throughout history Esau has attempted to kill Jacob and regain the birthright.  This week’s horrific attack on a Jerusalem synagogue brutally proves the point.   At the very hour when Jacob’s offspring was assembled to plead for the day of Messiah when, according to the prophet Isaiah, all the peoples of the earth will dwell in brotherhood and tranquility, Esau infiltrated the sanctuary with axes and knives and brutally killed and maimed those wrapped in prayer shawls.

"Palestinians" celebrate the synagogue attack in Jerusalem (29 Jan 2015)
“Palestinians” celebrate the synagogue attack in Jerusalem (29 Jan 2015)

  No sooner did the news of the bloodbath become public than Esau’s descendants began to joyously hand out treats to their children and praise their god for the “glorious martyrs” who carried out the ghastly massacre.  Esau’s current earthly leader, whom our media describes as “moderate,” appeased the West with his pro forma regrets and then turned to praise the “faithful” of Esau’s descendants for carrying out the violence against those he viewed as “contaminating” the Temple Mount.

It is significant to note that the word “violence” is, in Hebrew, “hamas.”  Esau, the “cunning hunter” is Nimrod resurrected, who incited, excited, influenced, convinced, and inspired people to turn away from the righteous government established by Noah and Shem.  The same evil power that was behind Nimrod’s rebellion is behind Edom (the descendants of Esau), who incites the daughters of Esau to sacrifice their children by attaching bombs to their belts in order to rid the planet of the children of Jacob.

But, Edom is not exclusively jihadist. According to an article by Rabbi Levi bar Ido, the writers of the Talmud ascribed “Edom” to the Roman Empire and Christianity.  We would do well to note:

  • The  Roman Empire mercilessly killed, maimed, and enslaved not only Jews but, I might point out, Christians who kept the commandments of God.
  • At the advent of the Crusades sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church, ‘Edom’ carried the sign of the cross.
  • In the era of World War II, Esau, under the guise of Christianity raised his ugly head in Germany and slaughtered as many as 20 million Jews, Christians, gypsies, and homosexuals according to latest estimates.
  • Esau is also found in numerous modern Christian churches and denominations that have fallen in to the snare of Replacement Theology and anti-Semitism.
The Spirit of Esau Invades the Church

When and how was Christianity (undoubtedly the world’s biggest purveyor of “brotherly love”) incited, excited, influenced, convinced, and inspired to distance themselves from Jacob?  —  The same Jacob to whom clearly “pertains the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises” (Rom 9:4), “which gifts and calling of God are without repentance”… (Rom 11:29)

A typical representation of the Church Fathers, represented as approved by Y'shua
A typical representation of the Church Fathers, conveying Y’shua’s approval of their teaching

As hard as it is to swallow, the blame lies at the very door of the Church,  with men venerated as “Church Fathers.” Of course, they were mere pawns of Satan, the father of all lies!   He first convinced the leadership of the Church that they needed to divest themselves of every shred of Jewish practice in the days leading up to Constantine‘s coming into power.  Then, hand-in-hand with Constantine, they legislated sun-god-worship to replace the Sabbath and the other Holy Days on God’s calendar, and convinced the congregation that anything remotely “Jewish” was an anathema to God.

Constantine: 321 A.D., “On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed.” Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, p. 380

This order was in direct opposition to the eternal Word of God which says,

And the LORD said to Moses, “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you.  You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you.  Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death.   Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.  Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD.   Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death.  Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever.  It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.'”  (Exodus 31:13-17)

The command to keep the Sabbath is emphasized far more than any other command.  More space is given to it than even the idea of salvation! (171 OT passages alone!)  This is because Messiah is the LORD of the Sabbath (Matt 12:8), and the Sabbath is a portal to His Kingdom for ALL peoples.

Isaiah well understood this:  Thus says the LORD: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my righteousness be revealed.   Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man [the human] who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”   Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely separate me from his people”; and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” … the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant— these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”  The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” (Isaiah 56:1-8)

“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 58:13-14)

The Sabbath was always meant to be a day of delight that the “light of the world” (Yeshua and His Bride) could use to draw people from every tribe and tongue into the body and then begin to teach them the whole counsel of God.  Satan well understood that; and with great deceit, he incited, excited, influenced, convinced, and inspired the Church to believe that the Law of God had been nailed to Yeshua’s cross, when, in fact, it was our sin of breaking the Law that was nailed to His cross!  (Col 2:14)

colossians-214

Inflamed by Anti-semitism

But the serpent did not stop there.  With the most insidious and heinous tactics, he proceeded to make Jews the most despised, hated, and hunted of all peoples, and he used the “church fathers” to do it.  Thus, Esau infiltrated the sanctuary.

St. John Chrysostom as represented in the Chapel dedicated to him.
St. John Chrysostom as represented in the Chapel dedicated to him.

John Chrysostom: “The synagogue is worse than a brothel…it is the den of scoundrels and the repair of wild beasts…the temple of demons devoted to idolatrous cults…the refuge of brigands and dabauchees, and the cavern of devils. It is a criminal assembly of Jews…a place of meeting for the assassins of Christ… a house worse than a drinking shop…a den of thieves, a house of ill fame, a dwelling of iniquity, the refuge of devils, a gulf and a abyss of perdition.”…”I would say the same things about their souls… As for me, I hate the synagogue…I hate the Jews for the same reason.” (344-407 A.D.) – John Chrysostom

Known as “The Golden Mouthed,” Chrysostom was applauded by nineteenth century Protestant cleric R.S. Storr as “one of the most eloquent preachers who ever since apostolic times have brought to men the divine tidings of truth and love.”

St. Augustine (stained glass)
St. Augustine (stained glass)

St. Augustine: How hateful to me are the enemies of your Scripture! How I wish that you would slay them [the Jews] with your two-edged sword, so that there should be none to oppose your word! Gladly would I have them die to themselves and live to you! (c. 354-430 A.D.), St. Augustine, Confessions, 12.14

Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach the Elder - Statens Museum for Kunst
Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach the Elder – Statens Museum for Kunst

Martin Luther: What then shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of Jews? Since they live among us and we know about their lying and blasphemy and cursing, we can not tolerate them if we do not wish to share in their lies, curses, and blasphemy… First, their synagogues should be set on fire, and whatever does not burn up should be covered or spread over with dirt so that no one may ever be able to see a cinder or stone of it. And this ought to be done for the honor of God and of Christianity in order that God may see that we are Christians, and that we have not wittingly tolerated or approved of such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of His Son and His Christians.

Secondly, their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed. For they perpetrate the same things there that they do in their synagogues. For this reason they ought to be put under one roof or in a stable, like gypsies, in order that they may realize that they are not masters in our land, as they boast, but miserable captives, as they complain of incessantly before God with bitter wailing.

Thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayer-books and Talmuds in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught.

Fourthly, their rabbis must be forbidden under threat of death to teach any more…

Fifthly, passport and traveling privileges should be absolutely forbidden to the Jews. For they have no business in the rural districts since they are not nobles, nor officials, nor merchants, nor the like. Let them stay at home…If you princes and nobles do not close the road legally to such exploiters, then some troop ought to ride against them, for they will learn from this pamphlet what the Jews are and how to handle them and that they ought not to be protected. You ought not, you cannot protect them, unless in the eyes of God you want to share all their abomination…

Such a desperate, thoroughly evil, poisonous, and devilish lot are these Jews, who for these fourteen hundred years have been and still are our plague, our pestilence, and our misfortune.

…. it all coincides with the judgment of Christ which declares that they are venomous, bitter, vindictive, tricky serpents, assassins, and children of the devil, who sting and work harm stealthily wherever they cannot do it openly. For this reason, I would like to see them where there are no Christians. The Turks and other heathen do not tolerate what we Christians endure from these venomous serpents and young devils…next to the devil, a Christian has no more bitter and galling foe than a Jew. There is no other to whom we accord as many benefactions and from whom we suffer as much as we do from these base children of the devil, this brood of vipers. Martin LutherTranslated by Martin H. Bertram, “On The Jews and Their Lies, Luther’s Works, Volume 47″; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971.

John-Calvin2John Calvin: [The Jews’] rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone.  Excerpt from “Ad Quaelstiones et Objecta Juaei Cuiusdam Responsio,” by John Calvin; The Jew in Christian Theology, Gerhard Falk, McFarland and Company, Inc., Jefferson, NC and London, 1931.

Separating the Sheep from the Goats

Esau is represented by the goats in Yeshua’s parable:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

          Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Depart from Me 2           Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’

          Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Mat 25:31-46)

Our Elder Brother, Owner of the Birthright

Yeshua is a Jew.   He takes His role as Elder Brother very seriously.  He will revenge the evil done to His family throughout history, and it is not going to be a pretty sight.  The Scarlet Beast of Revelation and the Purple and Scarlet Harlot (Rev 17:3-5) who represent every nation, religion, and “every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor 10:5) will be trampled under his feet.

‘Esau’ is any nation, entity, or individual who despises anything to do with the Tree of Life or the Kingdom of Heaven.   Esau hates the Torah of blessing from whence issued the birthright.   This is why, long after Jacob and Esau were dead and buried, the LORD visited the prophet Malachi and said, “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. (Mal 1:2-3)

The LORD gave the prophet Obadiah a vision of Esau’s ultimate end and final desecration:

The vision of Obadiah.  Thus says the Lord concerning Edom [Esau]: We have heard a report from the Lord, and a messenger has been sent among the nations: Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle! Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be utterly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground?” …Will I not on that day, declares the LORD, destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of Mount Esau? And your mighty men shall be dismayed, O Teman, so that every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.  Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. (Obadiah 1:1-10)

And so, to end this week of struggling and strife, we see that a line has been clearly drawn in the sand. The offspring of Isaac understand the blessing comes by keeping the commandments. Isaac’s seed are they who will honor the Jewish people for preserving the Holy Scriptures for us, for preserving Sabbath observance, for praying faithfully day-after-day, week-after-week, year-after-year for a redeemer to come to the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whose children we are if we do the works of Abraham.  They are the ones who will sow in one year and reap one hundred-fold. They are the ones who will re-dig the wells that Abraham dug and who will drink, bathe, and soak in the Living Water.

Blessed are the Peacemakers

The author of the Book of Hebrews exhorts us to be very careful, lest a root of bitterness spring up, from whence has comes all of the strife we have witnessed in this week’s Torah portion.

blessed are the peacemakers2
Blessed are the Peacemakers

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.   See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled, that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.   For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.   (Heb 12:14-17)

Until next week, shalom!

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