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The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
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It is difficult to look at the allegorical meaning of Gen.32 without noticing how the incidents look forward to the final day of Jacob's trouble at the hand of the Arabs (cp. Esau). Jacob's reliance on his own strength and subsequent semi-faith in God's word of promise typifies the Jews of today; his time of trouble truly humbled him, and his wrestling in prayer brought out the great faith which he was potentially capable of, as the final holocaust will do for the Jews. So many types of the last days emphasize the place of fervent prayer in the repentance of natural and spiritual Israel.

Note that Jacob's trouble had been preceded by an accumulation of great material wealth in the form of cattle in a devious and almost obsessive way; latter day Israel are described as a prosperous nation " which hath gotten cattle and goods" (Ez.38:12), at the expense of their Arab neighbours (cp. Laban?). The deliverance of Jacob will be definitely Angelic, as was that of Hezekiah in the Assyrian invasion which was the prototype of that of Ez.38; again, there will be a 'two camps' syndrome, the camp of Angels led by Michael facing the camp of the Arab invaders.

Jacob's prayer is peculiarly apt to a repentant Jewry: " O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac (going back to their roots), the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country (since 1948)...I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan (cp. the Atlantic, Mediterranean; through the immigrant ports of Haifa, Tel Aviv...); and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother (cp. the Arabs), from the hand of Esau: for I fear him...and Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea" (33:9-12). The reference to the Jewish fathers will be the result of listening to the Elijah ministry, which will turn " the heart of the children to their fathers" (Mal.4:6). There will therefore be a conscious awareness of incidents like Jacob's encounter with Esau among the repentant remnant of Israel. The examples of the patriarchs will figure significantly in the teaching of the Elijah ministry.

The following are some more detailed suggestions, based on the record in Gen.32:

- Jacob actually saw the Angels. " This is God's host" , he commented, with the implication that this sight further humbled him and led him towards the necessary contrition of mind for deliverance from Esau (Gen.32:2) . If " the sign of the son of man" which appears over Israel and leads the tribes of Israel to mourn in repentance is a literal vision of the Angel-cherubim (Mt.24:30), then this has a basis in Jacob seeing the Angelic vision in the time of his distress.

- Jacob's desperate humility before Esau is remarkable: " My lord Esau...I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight...peradventure he will accept of me" (Gen.32:4,5,20). This was a far cry from his nonchalance and cold shouldering of Esau at the time of the theft of the birthright. Likewise the present Jewish attitude towards the Arabs will dramatically change. Jacob sending droves of presents to appease Esau will connect with Israel's frequent appeasement of their aggressive Arab neighbours.

- Jacob divided his forces into two, reasoning " If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape" (Gen.32:8). Joab used somewhat similar tactics when Israel looked likely to be overcome by a massive confederacy of Arabs (2 Sam.10:6-11). This would associate Esau at this time with the Arab peoples generally.

- If Jacob's prayer had not been heard, Esau would have smitten " the mother with the children" (Gen.32:11). This will be done by the latter day Esau to those Jews who do not match Jacob's intensity of prayer and repentance (Zech.14:2), as it happened at the time of the Babylonian invasion which prefigured the Arab attack of the last days (Lam. 5:11).