God's Kingdom Ministries
Serious Bible Study



Chapter 2: Jacob’s Deception

Those who believe that the Bible is the Word of God understand that God is the Creator who owns all that He created. The so-called “Holy Land” is not the only piece of real estate that God owns. He is “the God of the whole earth” (Isaiah 54:5). What made the land of Canaan special was its significance as a prophetic type of all nations that would be God’s inheritance at the end of the age. There is therefore no such place as a “Holy Land” – all nations will be His inheritance, making a mockery of the misplaced emphasis accorded to Canaan (“Israel”) today.

Many religions teach that their path is the right one and believe that God favors the adherents of their religion. For Jews, this means God will give Jews dominion over the earth. The Talmud claims that every Jew will have 2800 (gentile) slaves. Even Christians tend to agree that God has “chosen” the Jews to rule the earth, based upon their genealogy. However, Christians also believe that they themselves will “reign with Christ” (Rev. 20:4), based on their faith. This is a clear case of cognitive dissonance. How can both Christians and non-believing Jews be “chosen” to rule?

In 2 Cor. 6:14 & 15 Paul writes:

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

All unbelievers should be treated with the greatest of respect and kindness in as much as is possible. But to honor Jews in particular is not only questionable, but also insulting to mankind at large. To assign them Kingdom authority based on a supposed last-minute confession of faith at the end of the age, completely contradicts the Scriptural concept of an overcomer who endures to the end.

The Kingdom of God, nonetheless, sets forth equality and forbids the notion that one’s genealogy makes one “chosen.” The Apostle Paul makes it abundantly clear in Romans 11 that in the days of Elijah, the only “chosen” ones in Israel were a remnant of 7,000 men (Rom. 11:4, 7). He says that the nation of Israel sought to obtain the promise of God, but only a small remnant obtained it. Genealogy was never the issue. Their faith was the determining factor, and the same is true with other ethnicities. It is faith – not biology – that is counted as righteousness. This is true for all peoples.

The Birthright

In the great sibling rivalry between Jacob and Esau, we find that they were twins, but that Esau was born first. Hence, the law gave Esau precedence over Jacob, even though prophecy asserted – even before they were born – that Jacob was God’s choice to receive the birthright (Rom. 9:11). So, we read in Gen. 25:23:

“the older shall serve the younger.”

That is, Esau was to be subordinate to Jacob.

In the story, their father Isaac got old and blind and believed that he might not live much longer. So, he decided to bless Esau with the birthright, appearing to have forgotten the earlier prophecy. But the law of God protects the oldest son’s right. The law of the hated son in Deut. 21:15-17) specified that no man could deny the right of the firstborn—unless that firstborn son first proved himself to be unworthy.

For example, Reuben was Jacob’s oldest son:

“but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph” (1 Chron. 5:1).

There was no law that said the birthright had to be passed down to the next oldest son. Hence, Jacob’s 11th son (Joseph) was given the birthright.

1 Chron. 5:2 says:

Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph.

At that time, Isaac had no lawful cause to strip Esau of the birthright in favor of Jacob. If Isaac had waited a bit longer, the situation would have changed, and at that point he would have given the birthright to Jacob without violating the law.

As it turned out, Jacob used deception to take advantage of his blind father by pretending to be Esau. In this way, he essentially stole the birthright by lying to his father. Gen. 27:18,19 & 24 says:

Then he [Jacob] came to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn…” And he [Isaac] said, “Are you really my son Esau?” And he said, “I am.”

No doubt Jacob justified his lie by claiming the prophecy given before he was born. He thought his father was about to thwart the prophetic promise of God. But the fact is, he lacked the faith to believe that God was able to fulfill His word without his help. Hence, he fulfilled the prophecy inherent in his own name, Jacob, which means a deceiver or usurper.

Jacob was certainly a believer at the time, and he enjoyed a level of faith. God often spoke to him over the years. However, he did not truly believe that God was able to fulfill His word without human help. God had to train him for many years until his faith was perfected. When he finally understood the sovereignty of God, he then received a new name, Israel, “God rules.”

Hebrew names ending in “-el” (God) show God doing the action. Hence, Israel does not mean that Jacob was “ruling with God,” as is commonly believed. It means that God rules. Jacob-Israel then became a living testimony to this great truth of the sovereignty of God.

Who is an Israelite?

Jacob received his new name in his 98th year. He had lived two Jubilee cycles of 49 years each. He would live another 49 years and die when he was 147. So, two-thirds of his life he lived as Jacob, the deceiver. God chose not to give him the birthright name Israel until his faith was perfected and he lost all confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3:3).

Israel is a title/name given to those whose faith is perfected in the same manner. Jacob was not born an Israelite. In the eyes of God, neither is anyone else. One may, of course, refer to Israelites by a lesser definition (a descendant of Jacob-Israel), but God has set a higher standard for those that He Himself calls an Israelite.

For example, we read in John 1:47:

Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”

Many people thought they were Israelites, but Jesus recognized that Nathanael was “an Israelite INDEED” in contrast to being a Jacobite (deceiver). Jesus Himself made this distinction and thereby suggested a deeper truth about who is really an Israelite and who is not. Jesus recognized that Nathanael’s faith was of a higher quality than that of His other disciples. Hence, he was truly an Israelite by the highest definition of the term.

The National Judgment upon Israel and Judah

Moses told the nation of Israel in Leviticus 26 that if they would be obedient to His laws (as they had sworn to follow in Exodus 19:8), God would bless them (Lev. 26:3). But if they were disobedient, God would bring judgment upon them (Lev. 26:14). If the people were to persist in disobedience to His laws, God vowed to expel them from the land and to put them under the authority of wicked men to teach them the horrors of unrighteous rulers.

In fact, God said that He would expel them in the same manner that He had expelled the Canaanites, and for the same reason. Deut. 8:20 says:

Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the Lord your God.

God stated clearly in Lev. 26:21-24:

If then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins… And if by these things you are not turned to Me, but act with hostility against Me, then I will act with hostility against you; and I, even I, will strike you seven times for your sins.

Again, God said in Lev. 26:32 & 33:

I will make the land desolate so that your enemies who settle in it will be appalled over it. You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste.

The solution, of course, is repentance and to agree that God was righteous in His judgments. They would have to cease from their hostility against God and His law, before being allowed to return. Lev. 26:40-42 says:

If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me— I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies—or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land.

Some centuries later, God’s judgments reached a climax when God expelled the 10 tribes of the northern House of Israel (745-721 B.C.) and sent them as captives to Assyria (2 Kings 17:6). They never returned.

About 120 years later, the Babylonians conquered Assyria (612-607 B.C.) and soon thereafter, the Babylonians captured Jerusalem (604 B.C.) and took the southern House of Judah captive to Babylon. Thus fulfilled the judgment of the law in Leviticus 26. Judah, however, was allowed to return after a 70-year captivity, because the Babylonian Empire lasted just 70 years until 537 B.C. It fell to the Persian army, led by King Cyrus the Persian and his father-in-law, Darius, the king of Media.

Darius was put in charge for the next three years (Dan. 5:31) while Cyrus continued with his conquests. When Cyrus finally returned to rule his kingdom personally, Darius returned to Media, and Cyrus issued his famous edict in 534 B.C., allowing the people of Judah to return to the old land. Judah remained under Persian rule for about two centuries, ending when the Grecian Empire under Alexander the Great conquered Persia and assumed power over Judah as well.

The Greek rulers were eventually replaced by the Romans in 63 B.C., and so Jesus was born during the Roman era. Daniel had prophesied of these four “beast” empires rising in succession. God had raised up all of them as part of the prophesied judgment upon the land for their “hostility” against God.

When Jesus came on the scene, the people had the opportunity to show that they were no longer hostile to God. They were given opportunity to treat the One whom God had sent with respect and to receive Him as the Messiah-King. Had they done so, they would have received the truth, and the truth would have made them free (John 8:32).

Yet they “did not receive Him” (John 1:11), and so they remained under the dominion of Rome.

Later, in trying to set themselves free by force, without first repenting, they only made their situation worse. Rome destroyed Jerusalem and its temple and scattered the Jews throughout many nations. Jesus foretold this in Matthew 24. His parable in Matt. 22:1-14 illustrated how the Jews had rejected His “invitation.” Verse 7 tells us the result of refusing His invitation:

But the king [God] was enraged, and he sent his [Roman] armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city [Jerusalem] on fire.

The city was later rebuilt and exists to this day, awaiting its final destruction according to the prophecy of Jer. 19:10 & 11:

Then you [Jeremiah] are to break the jar in the sight of the men who accompany you and say to them, “Just so will I break this people and this city, even as one breaks a potter’s vessel, which cannot again be repaired…”

Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonian army in 586 B.C. and again by the Romans in 70 A.D. But each time, it was “repaired.” Hence, there remains a final fulfillment of this prophecy in the future.

In view of the recent war in Gaza (October 2023), we ponder if this will eventually lead to the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy. Time will tell.

Furthermore, the question yet remains as to whether the “Israelis” will repent and fulfill the requirement in Lev. 26:40-42?

Many Christians believe that they will repent and will then accept Jesus as the Messiah. However, Jeremiah 19 says nothing of such repentance, but we know that God is always moved by repentance. So, is this a possibility, or is Jeremiah’s prophecy set in stone? We shall answer this question in Chapter 11 – Conclusions.