"And Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: And the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? "And she went to enquire of the Lord. 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. When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob." Gen. 25:21-26.
Inspiration says that Rebekah had no children and Isaac entreated the Lord and the Lord was entreated of him and the Lord gave her twins. If this be the case certainly it was not an accident. The Lord was in it. But if she only asked for a child, why did He give her twins? We do not suppose the Lord gave her twins to cause a lot of trouble in the family as it did. Why did they struggle within the mother? Why one red and hairy, and the other white and smooth? And why one take hold of the heel of the other? All these questions come to our minds. Whatever the reason, it was divinely designed, for He gave her the children. Certainly no one would think God did this without a purpose in view. God Himself told the mother it is an object lesson, for He said to her 'Two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels and the one people shall be stronger than the other people." It is true that the result was two nations on the stage of action; Edom and Israel, but where is the lesson?
Whatever the lesson, it must be to God's people. It cannot be for the Old Testament time, for they never profited by it in any way.
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We read in Gal. 4:22-25, that Isaac typified the New Testament church, and Ishmael the Old. "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: For these are the two covenants; the one from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children."
Paul writes here that Ishmael represents Israel after the flesh. Agar represents the church that was organized at Mount Sinai at the time when Moses selected the seventy elders. See Patriarchs and Prophets, page 382. The Sanhedrin was composed of seventy men, therefore, the number "70" represents a church organization. Thus Paul says, "For this Agar is Mount Sinai [woman--symbol of the church] which is in Arabia." This same organization, after they wandered forty years in the wilderness, crossed the Jordan and established themselves in Jerusalem. "For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children." Agar, then, symbolized the church before the cross; Jerusalem, of old.
Again we read beginning with the 26th verse: "But Jerusalem which is above [New Jerusalem in heaven now. Rev. 21.] is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not [Sarah]; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: For the desolate hath many more children [desolate--for Sarah stepped aside and gave her husband to Agar] than she which hath an husband [Agar]. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh [Ishmael] persecuted him that was born after the Spirit [Isaac], even so it is now." Gal. 4:26-29. (For ancient Israel in the days of the apostles persecuted the Christians.) Here Inspiration says Sarah represents Jerusalem which is above, in heaven now (Rev. 21), and she is the mother of us all. Paul, in writing to the New Testament church
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(Gentiles) says, "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise." Paul means that Isaac represents the children of the New Testament, and Sarah is the symbol of the church.
Coming back to our subject,
"Esau and Jacob," whatever the lesson of these twins, it cannot apply to
the Old Testament church, for if Isaac is the father of them, and represents
the New Testament church, then the lesson must apply to the church represented
by him. If the father was sixty years of age at the time Esau and
Jacob were born, the lesson can not be for the early part of the church.
The symbol must be for a later period.
The children struggled before they were delivered. In this, too, must be a lesson. It is intended to point out the time when the application is made. It has been defined by the father's age that the lesson is for a later period. The children's struggle was before they were delivered; the lesson, then, is for God's people just before they are delivered
The lesson can not be in two churches. Why? Because they are born from one mother. They must come under the same message. Why? Because they are begotten by the same father. If this is the generation that will witness the end, and the church that shall be delivered and be translated without tasting death, then this must be the time to which this lesson applies. Now the question is, In which church shall it find its fulfillment? It can only find its fulfillment in God's true church. If the Protestant churches have fallen and are termed Babylon, then they have neither part nor lot in this lesson. If the Seventh-day Adventist church is the true Israel, and has a message which no other organization teaches; and if the message we bear is, the advent of Christ and the end of the world in this generation, then this is the church.
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The Bible says the twins
represent two classes of people. If this is true, then we have two
classes of people in the church. One class is represented by Esau,
the other by Jacob. Referring to Testimonies to Ministers, page 46,
we read: "There are two opposing influences continually exerted on the
members of the church. One influence is working for the purification
of the church, and the other for the corrupting of the people of God."
One of the twins was red and hairy, and the other smooth and white.
Both people are sinful. Why? Because Esau was red, which
is scarlet, the sign of sin. Jacob was white, but the name betrays
the man, for the name "Jacob" means "deceiver."
Esau was the one born first. Whatever was to be inherited by the birthright was to be Esau's. The law of the Bible is that the first-born had the right to the priesthood. For this reason, Jacob coveted Esau's birthright. Esau, then, represents a class of priesthood.
As he was born hairy, his body must have been covered with a heavy coat of hair, for when Jacob wished to deceive his father in order to obtain the blessing, Rebekah his mother, covered his neck and hands with the skins of the kids. Isaac's suspicion of whether it was Esau or Jacob speaking, compelled him to examine the body of his son. Gen. 27:22, 23, "And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he left him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: So he blessed him." The heavy coat of hair over Esau's body was unnatural, and the only reason why God should have made him thus was to symbolize the character of the class he represents
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The hair was a symbol of
power, honor, glory, and talent (God-given gifts), to enable him to execute
the duties of his office as family priest. The following reasons
are given for believing thus: God, in the beginning created man and the
woman. He made the man to be king and ruler over all His creation,
and He crowned him with honor, glory, and power--talents necessary to execute
his office. To the man he gave the beard, and not to the woman.
Samson's hair was a symbol of his power. In I Cor. 11:15, we read:
"But if the woman have long hair it is a glory to her."
At the birth of the twins, Esau came
first, and Jacob took hold of Esau's heel, thus the younger was led out
by the older. This could not have just "happened," for it seems to
be a miracle. This is the only time our attention is called to an
occurrence of this kind, therefore, God must have intended it so, and if
He did, there must be a lesson in it. It would not be hard for one
to see the lesson taught here by the miracle. Jacob was led out by
the heel of Esau, therefore, Esau must represent a class of leaders.
Esau was born red, but
Jacob white and smooth. As a rule, twins are born alike, but in this
instance it was reversed. There is no similarity between Esau and
Jacob as twin brothers, in character, appearance, color, or covering.
Therefore, we have another miracle. This symbol is simple to understand.
Red is the same as scarlet. The Bible uses scarlet as a symbol of
sin, as in Isa. 1:18; Rev. 17:3; Rev. 12:3. Esau represents a sinful
class of people, as well as Jacob. But the class whom Esau represents
are given great privileges and opportunities to make good.
The character of Esau's manhood reveals the character of the
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priesthood whom he represents.
Esau was a mighty hunter, a man of the field. All his interest was
in game and his stomach, but very much disinterested in his position as
priest of the family. The class represented by him is far more interested
in pleasure, gain, and the affairs of the world than they are in the God-given
privileges. Esau could not control his appetite. He thought
more of his stomach than he did of his position (office of priest).
He represents a class of people whose god is their stomach. They
would rather satisfy their lustful appetite than to execute their duty
and keep God's truth.
Esau had a valuable blessing within his reach: The immortal inheritance of life. It was his privilege to bring forth (inherit) the 12 sons (tribes) of Israel. From Esau were to come prophets, kings, and princes. Through the line of Esau the King of kings, the blessed Christ was to come. All of these wonderful blessings were to be his.
There are many who are like Esau. He represents a class who have a special blessing within their reach. What is the blessing? It is an inheritance--the 12 tribes of the true Israel, 144,000, who are to be as priests and kings. Read Volume 5, pages 475, 476. This class have the privilege of bringing about the second coming of Christ, and to lead the church over the borders of the heavenly Canaan, and into the glories of God. Just as the line of Esau had the privilege to bring about the first advent of Christ, and as Esau failed on his part, just so, this class represented by Esau is in danger of failing on their part. Think of the loss of inheritance immortal, life that is as enduring as the rife of God, the Creator of the universe; happiness immeasurable, and an eternal weight of glory.
But Esau lusted for a favorite dish and sacrificed his birthright to gratify appetite and received but little for it,--a bowl of red pottage. He represents this class who have been given great light and privileges to make good, but fail to do so. This class is to sacrifice an eternal weight of glory which no human lips can tell. Esau flattered himself that he could dispose of his birthright at will, and
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buy it back at pleasure, but when he sought to buy it back, even at a great sacrifice on his part, he was not able to do so. He sought for repentance carefully and with tears, but it was all in vain. How fearful the thought to sacrifice truth for worldly gain at the expense of life everlasting. Read Volume 2, pages 38, 39. The following quotation is taken from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 182: "As Esau awoke to see the folly of his rash exchange when it was too late to recover his loss, so it will be in the day of God with those who have bartered their heirship to heaven for selfish gratification."
Because of his indifference
to the divine blessings and requirements, Esau is called in Scripture,
"a profane person". He represents those who lightly value the redemption
purchased for them by Christ, and are ready to sacrifice their heirship
to heaven for the perishable things of earth. Multitudes live for
the present with no thought or care for the future. Like Esau, they
cry, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.''--Patriarchs and Prophets,
Jacob was a plain man dwelling in tents, while Esau hunted in the field. "Jacob sod pottage," made of lentils, and colored red. We do not know the kind of coloring Jacob used to obtain the tempting shade of that fancy dish; evidently he alone knew the secret.
"And Jacob sod pottage: And Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: Therefore, was his name called 'Edom.' And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said Behold, I am at the point to die: And what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: And he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: Thus, Esau despised his birthright." Gen. 25:29-34.
Esau came from the field that day without any game. As he entered the house, he saw Jacob garnishing the fancy article of food.
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Immediately Esau exclaimed: "Feed me I pray thee with that same red pottage; for I am faint." Esau was not faint because of great hunger, but, seeing the new article of food, could not control his appetite. Jacob's answer was, "Sell me this day thy birthright," if you must have any of this pottage. And Esau said, "Behold, I am on the point to die: And what profit shall this birthright do to me?" Esau was not on the point to die because of hunger or physical ailment, for a sick man cannot eat as he did. Neither was it because of lack of food, for he was in his father's house, and Isaac was a rich man. It was because of his lust for the pottage, for "He did eat and drink and rose up and went his way." The symbol of the pottage is health reform. "Because of his indifference to the divine blessings and requirements, Esau is called in Scripture, 'a profane person.' He represents those who lightly value the redemption purchased for them by Christ, and are ready to sacrifice their heirship to heaven for the perishable things of earth. Multitudes live for the present, with no thought or care for the future. Like Esau, they cry, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.' " -- Patriarchs and Prophets, page 181.
"As Esau awoke to see the
folly of his rash exchange when it was too late to recover his loss, so
it will be in the day of God with those who have bartered their heirship
to heaven for selfish gratifications." Id. page 182. We must
make our choice while we are given the freedom to select either the pottage
or the birthright.
The transaction was made. "And he sold his birthright unto Jacob." Just then his name was changed, therefore, was his name called "Edom." Thus, "Esau despised his birthright." The name "Edom" means "red." or scarlet, the symbol of sin. Esau was born red but was not called by that name (Edom) at first. The class which Esau represents are in danger of losing out because of lustful appetite (disregard of health reform), thus they are called "Edom."
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This is the class of whom the prophet
Isaiah has reference to in Isa. 63:1.
Both Esau and Jacob represent
two sinful classes: Esau, by the color of his skin, and Jacob, by his name.
The names of both were changed: Jacob, because he coveted something worthwhile;
Esau, because of lust. Jacob's name meant "deceiver"; the name "Esau"
(in Hebrew: Hairy, which symbolically would be "honored," as previously
explained) means "he that finishes." Note the remarkable meaning
of the name, signifying the class given the privilege to finish the work.
In Rev. 3:14-16, we read: "And unto the angel of the church of the
Laodiceans write;....I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot:
I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm,
and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Volume
5, page 82: "The call to this great and solemn work was presented to men
of learning and position; had these been little in their own eyes, and
trusted fully in the Lord, he would have honored them with bearing his
standard in triumph to the victory. But they separated from God yielded
to the influence of the world, and the Lord rejected them."
Jacob, the younger twin, or the one who came last, by holding to Esau's heel, represents a class which came into the third angel's message by the leadership of the class represented by Esau. Jacob had an earnest desire and great zeal for the position which his brother occupied. Though he was destitute of the qualifications which Esau possessed for performing the duties of this office, which he coveted and bought, yet, by his great zeal and determination, he made good. The price he paid was food--worth nothing; but that which he received was of great value. Regardless of how much training or talent one has in a certain occupation, he can never be successful unless he has a great zeal and interest in that particular line.
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Esau had a great deal to
lose, but his loss was Jacob's gain. That which Jacob offered as
payment for Esau's valuable possession was of little worth, therefore,
what Esau gained was little more than nothing. It was not long after
Jacob secured the blessing from his father, Isaac, that Esau, filled with
remorse, threatened Jacob's life. Both classes represented by Esau
and Jacob may be in trouble: One, because of realization of their loss;
the other, because of hatred manifested toward them.
Jacob, at the advice of his parents, left home and went to Padan-Aram, and on his way, the very first night, God appeared unto him in a dream, "And behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: And behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it." Gen. 28:12. The ladder represents Christ; God, the Father stood above it; Jacob at the foot of it. (Gen. 28:13). This dream gave Jacob great courage, and he made a vow to God.
Jacob was now to become
the father of Israel (12 tribes) through whom many nations shall be blessed;
a type of Israel by the promise, the 12 tribes, the 144,000. The
dream which he had in the night was only a vision and representation of
some future event. The meaning of the dream can be only one thing.
If the ladder represents Christ, the angels as messengers, God the Father
at the head, and Jacob at the foot, it means a complete connection with
heaven and the true Israel,--the latter rain, the loud cry of the third
angel's message. See Rev. 18:1.
But note that Jacob went to Padan-Aram, to the house of Bethuel, his mother's father, there he married Leah and Rachel, the daughters of Laban. Zilpah and Bilhah, the maids of Leah and Rachel, also became his wives. These are the mothers whence the twelve tribes came, but they are only the mothers in type of the true tribes--the 144,000. Leah was the only legal wife to Jacob; Rachel
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was her sister. Zilpah and Bilhah were bondwomen.
Let Leah represent the
true church of Christ (Seventh-day Adventists); Rachel, a sister church,
but not the true (Protestant); Zilpah and Bilhah, the world (religious
and irreligious). These are the mothers of the 144,000, and the way
they (144,000) are gathered. But while the twelve tribes came from
many mothers, they were begotten by the same father. So with the
true--the 144,000. While they are gathered from all churches and
the world, they must be brought into one church, at the same period of
church history, by the same message (the third angel's message).
At the end of the twenty years Jacob was homeward-bound to the promised land and his father's house with great possessions. By the time he arrived at his father's house he had his twelve sons (the heads of the twelve tribes). Before Jacob entered his father's house he went through that terrible struggle and wrestled with the angel till the breaking of the day. Gen. 32:24-29.
Jacob's wrestling with
the angel typifies the time of "Jacob's trouble" (for the church).
We read in Early Writings, pages 36, 37: "A decree went forth to slay the
saints, which caused them to cry and night for deliverance. This
was the time of Jacob's trouble." See also Patriarchs and Prophets, pages
If the promised land of Canaan is the type of the promised heavenly Canaan, then Jacob's father's house is the type of our Father's house. Just so, when Israel (the true) enters our Father's house in the heavenly Canaan there will be the twelve tribes, the 144,000. The question arises, Are these all that will be saved in the third angel's message? Remember that when Jacob entered his father's house with his twelve sons he had many servants, male and female, that outnumbered his tribes (sons) many times. Just so with Israel (the true), who will have with them "a great multitude
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which no man could number." Rev. 7:9. (The great multitude came by the effort of the tribes after the fulfillment of Ezekiel 9).
This study can not fit another case nor any other church in all the history on the earth. Seventh-day Adventists are the only people and church that has ever been called Israel, who have the truth of health reform, and that would be in danger of selling their birthright for a bowl of pottage. By this fact alone, while there are many others, we may know that the Seventh-day Adventist church is God's church.
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