A few readings ago, we saw that events in the life of Isaac were repeating events in the life of Abraham. Now we begin to see events in the life of Jacob begin to repeat events in the life of Isaac! Repetition is a teaching tool of Scripture! In fact, the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and initially, Jacob form the same chiastic structure:
1A: YHVH affirms His covenant with His chosen one: Abraham: Gen 12.7; Isaac: Gen 26:2-6; Jacob: Gen 28.13-15; Jacob’s sons: ?
1B: His chosen one goes to the pagans in a time of need: Abraham: Gen 12.10; Isaac: Gen 26:1; Jacob: Gen 29.1; Jacob’s sons: ?
1C: Contention over the chosen one’s beautiful wife: Abraham: Gen 12:11-20, Gen 20.2-14; Isaac: Gen 26.7-11; Jacob: Gen 29.21-30; Jacob’s sons: ?
1D: The chosen one is invited to dwell in the land: Abraham: Gen 20.15; Isaac: Gen 26.22; Jacob: Gen 29.12-19; Jacob’s sons: ?
CENTRAL AXIS: The chosen one increases greatly in the land of the pagans by the blessing of YHVH: Abraham: Gen 12.16, Gen 20.14-16; Isaac: Gen 26.12-14; Jacob: Gen 29.16-30.43; Jacob’s sons: ?
2D: The chosen one is sent away from the pagans’ land: Abraham: Gen 12.20; Isaac: Gen 26.16-17; Jacob: ?; Jacob’s sons: ?
2C: Contention over the chosen one’s resources: Abraham: Gen 21.25; Isaac: Gen 26.15-22; Jacob: ?; Jacob’s sons: ?
2B: The pagans go to YHVH’s chosen one to sue for peace: Abraham: Gen 21.22-27; Isaac: Gen 26.26-31; Jacob: ?; Jacob’s sons: ?
2A: YHVH reaffirms His covenant with His chosen one: Abraham: Gen 21.1-3; Isaac: Gen 26.24; Jacob: ?; Jacob’s sons: ?
As we go through the readings in the next few days, we will see if Jacob’s life continues in the pattern the Scriptures have already begun. Now why is this important? The Torah is not just a book of history, but as we have seen, it is also a book of prophecy. The history which is contained in Torah, is also a prophecy, as we have seen, of the Messiah and of the Lord’s people.
Isaiah told us,
Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,’ Isa 46:9-10
Genesis is the book of the beginning, and it is in the beginning that YHVH has declared the end. If we want to know what WILL happen, we just need to understand what HAS happened. And then we will be able to discern who, in these days, is speaking by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and who is selling snake oil (literal snake oil, from the serpent who has been about deceiving the elect from the beginning)!
In fact, in our days, we see glimpses that we might be living in this chiastic structure right now. In the 20th century, Israel was sent away from the pagan’s lands, and returned to their own land, and they became a nation again in 1948. And in this very day, the contention over Israel’s land (resources?) is fierce. If the pattern holds, we might expect at some point in the future for the pagans to go to Israel to sue for peace, and then, we might expect to see God reaffirm His covenant with Israel – by them receiving Messiah Yeshua en masse?
I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! Rom 11:1
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.” Rom 11:26-27
For further study: A doctrine which has been prevalent in the Church in centuries past and up to today, is called Replacement Theology: the teaching that God is done with Israel, and the Church has replaced Israel in God’s heart and in His promises and covenants. Are we seeing Scripture confirm or refute this teaching? How?
Finding Messiah: I find it fascinating that Messiah, er, I mean, Jacob, the chosen one of YHVH (for even before He was born, He told Rebekah that the elder would serve the younger (Gen 25:23); and as he was on his way to Haran, God reaffirmed His covenant with him (Gen 28:13-15)), serves in the pagan’s land for His, er, I mean, his, flock. But the sheep of His flock were not the pure white perfect sheep. They were the speckled, spotted, striped, and brown sheep. They were the undesirable, imperfect, stained sheep that no one else wanted. The Good Shepherd, er, I mean, the shepherd Jacob, separated them out, and made them His own sheep. This speckled and spotted sheep is eternally grateful!
For further reading:
Wildbranch Ministry website – Brad Scott’s teachings, for he is the one to whom the Holy Spirit revealed the importance of Genesis as prophecy and that the end was revealed from the beginning.
Supersessionism (Wikipedia) – the explanation and history of replacement theology in the Church, with a list of New Testament Scriptures that have been at the heart of the debate on this theology. We will address these Scriptures as we get to them in the Bible study – follow along with the New Testament commentary also!