3 days prior to the terrible terror acts in Jerusalem and Haifa on December 1st and 2nd the Lord urged me strongly to place my teaching on Jacob's wrestling on the "Electronic Tabernacle." I was just working on posting my latest newsletter on line which was of a first priority. The "Samael" article was far from my mind. However, the Lord's urging became so strong I dropped everything and began to work day and night to create these pages.
Little did I realize that this teaching would become extremely relevant in only 3 days --- when the monstrous terror attacks claimed so many innocent victims in just a few hours. Nor was I aware at the time that the pages would be posted precisely during the week in which the Parsha portion [weekly Scripture reading] is of Jacob wrestling with that "angel."
All pages were placed on the web on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2001. Thanks be to G-d for ordering our steps!
The "Teaching" begins with the next page.
The only reason that I teach on the subject of Jacob's wrestling at all is out of a holy jealousy for our Heavenly Father Who, by this traditional teaching, is being portrayed as a liar and One Whose promises cannot be trusted. Many people are not conscious of the significance of such interpretation. With my teaching I want to make them aware of it. However, some people have actually taken offense at my teaching and rejected me for it, even certain people who had called themselves my "dear friends." Yes, the Truth is truly a two-edged sword, dividing spirit from soul...
In any event, before I get to the actual wrestling, let me lay some groundwork first in order for you to see WHY the teaching that it was an angel of G-D wrestling with Jacob portrays G-d as a liar. I hope you will get blessed by my teaching, and find your own discoveries and conclusions confirmed within the Scriptural context.
1. First of all, G-d entered into a covenant with Abraham, swearing by Himself and sealing it with heavenly fire, saying (in Gen. 15:17-20) "to your (Abraham's) descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim (which were giants), the Amorites, the Cannanites (which included the Philistines), the Girgashites and the Jebusites." G-d confirmed this covenant once more after Abraham had willingly given up Isaac, saying, "By Myself I have sworn..." (Gen. 22:16).
It is this covenant, which Yitzhak Rabin transgressed and for which he paid with his life, even as it is "prophesied" in that very portion of Scripture. For precisely in that week in which this [Scripture] Parsha was read in all of our Synagogues, Rabin was assassinated. Those versed in Hebrew and the Scriptures, found that by ignoring the spaces between the words and reading only the letters in verse 17 reads, beginning with the word "esh/fire" from the "burning lamp": "esh esh ra ba rabin [hagzerim]" = "Evil fire fire into Rabin [G-d decreed]." Three bullets were fired, of which two were deadly.
The violation of THIS covenant, which G-d confirmed with an oath by His own Name and with heavenly fire (i.e. interposing with an oath of two unchangeable things through which it is impossible that G-d should prove false - Heb. 6:17), always will carry the most dire consequences for whomever breaks it, especially of course for the Jews.
2. G-d confirmed this Covenant to Isaac as a "sworn promise" in Gen. 26:3.
3. G-d confirmed this Covenant once more to Jacob BEFORE he became "Israel," in Gen. 28:13-15, when G-d appeared to him at Beth-el standing above the ladder. Furthermore, G-d said, "Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that of which I have spoken to you."
These three sworn promises of G-d to the three patriarchs are reiterated in Psalm 105:8-11.
4. When Jacob deceived his father Isaac to obtain the patriarchal blessing, it was in response and obedience to his mother's wish (in those days the word of a parent – whether father or mother - carried much weight). It hadn't been his idea but his mother’s, Rebeccah, Laban's sister. It is important to bear this in mind because it is Laban, his mother's brother, Jacob's uncle, who indeed is the cheater, liar, trickster and deceiver. The saying, "Are you an Aramean to me?", in reference to cheating Laban, is still in use today.
Furthermore, this event took place AFTER Esau had sold his birthright to Jacob. Jacob and Rebeccah did not just “out of the blue” decide to "steal" it from Esau (as is frequently taught). No, rather, Esau had already ceded it to them with his actions, by essentially despising his birthright and the patriarchal blessings he was to receive. These things weren't worth more to him than a plate of lentils.
Esau was a creature of impulse who, in the heat of the moment, gave no thought to value and consequences. Thinking he could have the pot of lentils AND the blessings He took the whole matter rather lightly because, of course, the father would bless HIM and not Jacob. So, what did it matter if he "sold" his birthright now? He did not take it serious --- but Jacob did! It is THAT what G-d saw, what made Him "love" Jacob and "hate" Esau.
Jacob knew of the promise G-d made to his mother in Gen. 25:22-23, saying, "... the elder shall serve the younger." Jacob not only knew of it but also believed it, as did Rebeccah. Fearful that G-d's purpose could get swarted, Rebeccah rushed to "help" G-d a little to fulfill His promise by talking Jacob into the deception (see Gen. 27:5-14).
And you know, Diane, sometimes I get a little indignant at self-righteous Christians who pass judgment on Rebeccah and Jacob, while they themselves have done the same thing --- "helping" G-d a little along in fulfilling the promise. Rebeccah and Jacob acted from faith. (For it is impossible to please G-d apart from faith, wherefore G-d also says, "Jacob I have loved, but I have hated Esau" – [Mal. 1:2-3; Ro 9:13] - because Esau was an immoral and irreligious man [see Heb. 12:16-17], guided by carnal desires and impulses rather than by faith). Abraham and Sarah also had "helped" G-d a little with the promise by Sarah giving Hagar to Abraham, to have the promised son by her.
All these wonderful and great saints were also very human, something most comforting to me, as it assures me that I, too, have every chance in Yeshua despite shortcomings and failures. Feeling superior to Rebeccah and Jacob is somewhat insincere and pharisaic, because then we fail to see our own shortcomings. Yet, we are to judge ourselves first, before we look for the splinter in the eyes of others.
5. Jacob's "transformation" did not take place only at the time of the wrestling - as is routinely taught in the churches - but already during his years of service at Laban’s. The transformation of Jacob, the "supplanter" of his brother, was very sudden and extremely painful. It occurred in the night when Leah, older sister of Rachel, "supplanted" Rachel in the bridal bed. Jacob had labored for Rachel 7 years, but because he loved her so much they "seemed to him but a few days" (Gen. 29:20),.
In the morning after the wedding night the realization that he had been terribly tricked and cheated out of his rightful bride, struck Jacob with numbing force. It was a blow so terrible it "converted" Jacob instantly from the cheating supplanter into the most honest man on the face of the earth. It was NOT because Laban had cheated HIM, but because he suddenly realized the enormity of the deception he had committed against his father and brother.
This realization - experiencing the very thing he himself had done in his own person now - totally overwhelmed and crushed Jacob. He was undone by it, and his repentance went to great extremes as is clearly seen by his actions following this experience. This repentance, deep remorse, grief and guilt over his own actions toward father and brother contributed to his willingness to agree to Laban's deal to serve him for an additional 7 years in order to get Rachel as his wife after all.
As we follow Jacob’s story, we discover that for the 14 years in which he served Laban, Jacob had gained no possessions for himself. He had the two wives, the two concubines, and his children, but no possessions, because all belonged to Laban, his father-in-law. When Jacob wanted to return home, having completed his agreed upon service (still penniless, mind you!), Laban urged him to remain because he had learned by divination, that G-d blessed his household on account of Jacob. Indeed, he had had little before Jacob came to him (one of the factors pointing to this is that his daughter Rachel, the younger of two daughters, was keeping his sheep. Laban had no sons at the time, and only few sheep). So he said, "name your wages, and I will give it" (Gen. 30:25-28).
Thereupon Jacob reminded Laban of his faithful service, how Laban's possessions had increased abundantly because the L-RD was blessing Laban on account of and by Jacob’s work, and then asked: "But now when shall I provide for my own household also?"
This was Jacob's situation. He had made no extra demands, but just worked hard for his two wives.
Now, let me make it short. Laban said, "What shall I give you?", and Jacob replied, "You shall not give me anything." Then he struck a deal with Laban that he, Jacob, would seek out all the spotted and speckled among the sheep and the goats. These would constitute his wages. This kind of sheep got the lowest price on the market, because people wanted the pure white wool, not the streaked and spotted.
Then Jacob said, "So my HONESTY will answer for me later when you come to look into my wages..." Jacob now spoke of his honesty because indeed he practiced an honesty that bordered on self-deprivation.
Laban agreed to the deal, but that same day removed all such animals as agreed upon and put them in charge of his sons (here we learn for the first time that Laban had now sons also), and furthermore removed them from Jacob a 3 days' journey. Laban was and remained the "trickster" and "cheat", yet it is Jacob who has been accused of being that since the Exodus from Egypt.
Now from the Scriptures we learn how honest Jacob was, and how G-d was with him at all times. Jacob called Rachel and Leah to come to him in the field, away from Laban’s ears, and there he told them about their father, and that "the G-d of my father has been with me... your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but G-D did NOT PERMIT HIM TO HARM ME." Whatever Laban said should be Jacob's wages, whether the spotted or the streaked, that's what all the flocks bore. Because the Angel of the L-RD had appeared to Jacob and shown him the "trick" with the rods taken from the almond, poplar and plane. And the Angel said to him, "I AM the G-d of Beth-el, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me... return to the land of your birth."
When Laban pursued fleeing Jacob to take everything away from him, Jacob repeated his claim that "... you [Laban] have changed my wages ten times. IF THE G-D OF MY FATHER, THE G-D OF ABRAHAM AND THE FEAR OF ISAAC, HAD NOT BEEN ON MY SIDE, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. G-d saw my affliction and the labor of my hands, and REBUKED YOU LAST NIGHT." For G-d had spoken to Laban in a dream saying, "Take heed that you say not a word to Jacob, either good or bad." Therefore Laban said to Jacob, "But WHAT CAN I DO THIS DAY to my daughter, or to their children... [i.e., to Jacob]?" (Read the whole story from Gen. 30:30-31:1-54).
Indeed, he could do nothing to Jacob to harm him, because Jacob was G-d's chosen, and G-d was with him according to His oath and promise.
So, my dear Diane, now that I have laid this groundwork for you that you may clearly see where G-d was standing with Jacob, and Jacob with G-d, we proceed to the wrestling, an account which, I believe, has been misinterpreted and thereby misrepresented G-d for many centuries.
You see, it is because of the image that "Rome" has painted of the Jew that Jacob has been pictured as this base trickster and greedy cheat who, having finally arrived at his wits' end, was confronted with the angel of G-d, and in this wrestling experienced his "conversion." Folks have taken offense at my teaching simply because they are unwilling to see and accept Jacob as the honest and holy man Scripture depicts him as having become while laboring in Laban's service.
Through the years I have observed in Churches and in Sunday schools how Jacob is being pictured in the minds of many people: the little, bent-over Jew with the typical "Jew" nose and chin, tricky, cheating, manipulating, and greedy. Never mind that Scripture speaks of Jacob as a very handsome man (Gen. 25:27). The word describing Jacob is "tam" - Strong's Concordance 8535 - meaning especially "finished and complete." This word is also used in prayer, blessings and modern Hebrew. The word implies "perfection" - both physical and spiritual - because it is especially used in connection with the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple, in anticipation of the Messianic Reign, the reign of "perfection."
I.e., Jacob was not merely a "plain" or a "quiet" man who happened to be of smooth skin, but one whose "perfection" became such that it was "complete," because it was BOTH physical AND spiritual. "Tam" also means "pious," and despite teaching to the contrary, Jacob was INDEED a "pious" man, namely a "man of faith."
In addition to that he possessed great strength (see Gen. 29:1-10; 31:35): the account of his rolling a large stone from off a watering well - which usually took 3 men to roll away - attests to that, as well as the story of his setting up a large stone as a pillar for a witness between him and Laban. The hardship of tending to the flocks day and night, regardless of weather and beasts, also testifies to his enduring strenth..
Furthermore, Jacob grew exceedingly rich (Gen. 30:43) because G-d blessed and prospered him in accordance with G-d's OATH and PROMISE, and NOT because Jacob was manipulative and greedily hording every coin. He was on his way back to the promised land in obedience to G-d's command (31:30), when he was met by a group of angels (these being indeed angels of G-d), whom Jacob recognized at once as a "camp of G-d," and called that particular place (ha'makom ha'who) "two camps." They met him upon entrance into the Promised Land.
And now, Diane, may this my teaching help you see more clearly Jacob, the champion of G-d and prince and heir, ISRAEL, patriarch of a people from whom the Messiah has come. The children of this Patriarch are Israelites, Champions of G-d as well, Contenders for the Divine, conquering by strength from Above. It is this people whom Satan has been and still is desperately trying to destroy.
May you be a lover and defender of the Truth, and while not making an issue of this teaching and not allowing yourself to be drawn into a controversy over it, be ever a defender of the holiness of our G-d's Name, who stands for justice and righteousness, Truth, Love, Faith, Hope, Light, Goodness, Kindness, Mercy, Compassion, and so much more. G-d does not change! It grieves and offends me when He is being misrepresented, just as Job's "friends" also did. Had it not been for Job interceding on their behalf, it would have gone ill with them.
That is also the reason why we should teach on this "wrestling of Jacob," that it may not go ill with those who keep misrepresenting our Heavenly Father. However, I repeat it once more, do not enter into a controversy over it, nor take offense at those who won't accept the teaching but rather reject it, and you on account of it. Only pray that the Lord may open the eyes of their understanding.
G-d bless, and keep you in His Truth for Life.
Yours in Yeshua,