CHAPTER 4: JACOB AND ESAU
IN THE LAST DAYS
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
- 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).