Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 6
SECOND COMING: MILLENNIUM
Daniel 9 & Genesis 25-26
Once more, as usual, let’s go right back to the Scriptures. I think we’ve had enough for the last several weeks on prophecy and so forth. It gives everyone a little whetting of their appetite. Let’s go back and pick up where we left off in Genesis. Let’s turn now to Chapter 25 You remember several weeks ago, we left off with Isaac receiving a bride from a far country in Rebekah. And he took her back to his mother’s tent, and he loved her; consummated the marriage, and now, of course, the Nation of Israel is on its way. Abraham finally has that son of promise. Ishmael, you remember was not a son of promise. He was a son of the flesh. But Isaac was the son of promise, and now he has his wife Rebekah and we’re ready to move on. In Chapter 25, there is a strange interlude in the life of Abraham. I can’t understand it. But, there are a lot of things I don’t understand. But anyway, after Sarah’s death, Abraham marries again and her name is Keturah. And it’s interesting to note, that ,out of this other wife, Abraham has several more sons. Two or three at least are well known enemies of the off spring of Isaac.
“Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bear him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian;…”
Remember how many times the Jews had to fight the Midianites. Well, here’s where they come from. Some time ago I showed how all the families of the Middle East, the Arabs and the Egyptians, are all inter-related? They all come from Abraham. Let’s move on now to verse 5. In spite of these other sons that Abraham had he only had one that he had any reckoning for and that was Isaac:
“And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.” Here Isaac is being separated from the all the rest.
“And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.” That’s 175 years. Remember when we were back here in Genesis, I told you that 5 is the number of Grace in Scripture? Every important figure in Abraham’s birthdays that end in 5, are a unique, high point in his life. More than likely, he received the call out of Ur when he was 50; he got the promise of a son when he was 75; and the son finally came on the scene when he was 100. Now he dies at 175, and everyone of those figures are divisible by the number 5 (a little added interest):
“Then Abraham gave up the ghost and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah (the cave he bought for his wife Sarah): in the field of Ephron… The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife. And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi.”
Remember, that even though all these other Arab families have come out of Abraham, or at least his next of kin, yet the only people that are in the line of the Covenant, are Isaac, and later on Jacob and his twelve sons. Now, in verse 12, true to the scriptural format I’ve pointed out since Genesis 1, there’s always the appearance of the natural, or their genealogy, and then the spiritual. First Cain and then Abel. And now, it’s first Ishmael and then Isaac. Then there’s Esau and Jacob. And so, Saul and David, and when we get up to the finality of Paul, it will be the false christ – the Anti-christ, and the true Christ. Watch for it all through Scripture. Now we come to the genealogy of the spiritual line, Isaac.
“And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac: And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan-aram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.” Remember that I pointed out that he got a bride from a far country. I didn’t like to call them Gentiles just yet, although I guess in reality, they were. They were no longer of the line of Abraham, who now becomes the father of the Nation of Israel.
“And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children (twins) struggled together within her; and she said, ‘If it be so, why am I thus?’ And she went to enquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb….”
God has all foreknowledge. He knows everything before it happens. Also, I have to feel that He has Sovereign control when He wants to. Even over the children as they are conceived, as it seems to be here. Now the rest of Verse 23:
“…and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people, and the elder shall serve the younger.”
Underline that because, I’ll admit, for years I had problems with the conniving that Jacob and Rebekah did to beat old Esau out of his birthright. But, you see, it was in God’s plan all along, that Jacob should have the birthright and the blessing. Because He foretold it way back here, that the younger would be over the elder.
“And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.” (Sixty years old, or twenty years after he married her).
“The boys grew;…” They are two totally different individuals. They are as different as daylight from dark. One is a hairy individual and the other one is smooth skinned. The one is going to be an outdoors man, probably a rough and ruddy type individual. Jacob, I think is going to be more on the effeminate side. Two totally different people, but, God had said from the beginning, that Jacob would be the one that would be used in the Covenant. Now, let’s read on. “and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.” As was so often the case with the old patriarchs, I guess it’s probably a thorn of trouble in a lot of families, even today, when parents make favorites.
“And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison (in other words to satisfy his carnal appetite): but Rebecca loved Jacob.”
Now, can you see the controversy that’s going to be in that home. Every time old Esau did something that would irritate Rebekah, Isaac would stick up for him, and vice versa. These are young men now, they are full grown. Esau is already a hunter.
“And Jacob sod (or was cooking) pottage (soup, or just plain old pinto beans): and Esau came from the field and he was faint….” Why? He was hungry. He was about to drop. He’d probably been hunting all day without a bite to eat. He smelled that bean soup and got so hungry that he was about to pass out.
“And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage, for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom (which means red). And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.”
Now, do you see how the overall plan of God is coming into fruition? God said before they were ever born that Jacob would be the one in the line of the Covenant. He would be the one who would rule over the elder. And so, here it comes to fruition. After Jacob says, sell me thy birthright, Esau comes right back and says:
“And Esau said, ‘Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?’ And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright to Jacob.”
The first thing you have to qualify back in ancient Israel, is, what was the birthright? Many think it was the estate. That was not the case. That is the blessing. The blessing was the material part of the estate. And to be in the place of the eldest son in Israel, meant that he would receive a double portion of the estate and then the others would get what would be left. So remember, that the blessing was the material estate, but the birthright was a spiritual thing. Go back all the way to Genesis 3:15. What did that say? That the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head, or crush his head. That was the promise of the Redeemer. And then when you come to Genesis Chapter 12, this seed of the woman is going to come through what line? Through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That was a whole spiritual concept that had to be taken by faith.
Here’s where I hope you can get it. Esau was totally destitute of faith, like Cain. Esau saw absolutely nothing to be gained in enjoying this spiritual promise. He couldn’t have cared less that someone would be born out of his lineage who would bring redemption to Israel and to the world. But Jacob had a glimpse, maybe not much; but he had a glimpse that there was something to be gained by being in the line of that spiritual birthright. And the physical, the blessings, which would come later, that, of course, was secondary. But, what I want you to understand is that Esau was destitute of faith and he could have cared less about what these spiritual blessings might entail. Now, go to Hebrews Chapter 12, because you always have to realize that what the Old Testament doesn’t answer completely, most of the time the New Testament does.
“Lest there be any fornicator (or immoral person), or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” So, even though he was a favorite son of Isaac, even though he was a great outdoors man, and a hunter, what kind of a person was he morally? He was an immoral person. He was destitute of faith.
“For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing (which of course entailed the physical and the fleshly things): he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”
I think there’s two ways to look at this and either one, I think, could be correct. Remember when he was crying out to Isaac to go back on his word, and take that blessing away from Jacob and give it to him? And, you remember what the rule was in the ancients? Once something was spoken, it could never be taken back. I think part of the repentance that Esau is pleading for, is Isaac’s. “Dad, can’t you change your mind? Can’t you change the decree?” But Isaac couldn’t. Number one, not only was it the Law of the orient, but God had already foreordained that this is the way it was going to be. And secondly, I think Esau, even as much as he thought he now wanted the blessing, didn’t care about the birthright. But oh, how he wanted that material blessing. And yet he was so destitute of faith that even though he wept bitter tears, he could never bring himself to come to the place where it would have been a step of faith, rather than just simply just being the hunter of the field.
I don’t know if that makes sense to you or not, but anyway, if you’ll come back to Genesis for a moment, always remember that God had foreordained; had foretold that Jacob would be the one through whom the spiritual line would continue and not through Esau. And Esau’s whole problem, from start to finish, was that he was destitute of faith. He could not put any trust in what God said. You know, that’s the problem with a lot of people today. They just cannot believe the Word of God. Well, that’s not God’s fault, and yet they will not, just like Esau, turn around and say, “Yes, I believe it.” They will continue on in their unbelief. Alright, let’s go on:
“Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils (beans); and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau (now watch the language) despised his birthright.”
He didn’t have any need or desire for it, because it was a spiritual thing that had to be comprehended by faith and he had none. It’s the same with people today. They say, “Well I can’t understand that Bible. It’s just a bunch of Greek to me.” You know what their problem is? They’re destitute of faith. You would have to take this Book by faith. And I’ve maintained over the years, and I’ve seen it over and over again, that as soon as someone comes into a saving knowledge of Christ and believes the Gospel, then God opens their eyes of faith and they take this Book and believe it from cover to cover, no questions asked. Why? Because faith opens our spiritual eyes.
“And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.”
Now, this is interesting. You remember what Abraham did back there when he had that beautiful wife, Sarah? Where did he end up? Down in Egypt. Well, he learned a tough lesson down there, and here we’ve got Isaac coming close to doing the same thing. But Gerar in the Hebrew is a town; like today, one that we would call Lineville, or Bordertown. Because that’s where it was. It was on the border between Canaan and Egypt. And so Isaac doesn’t go into Egypt, but he gets as close as he can. Now, the lesson of course here, even for us as believers, is there is no way we can straddle the fence. You can’t put one foot in the world and one foot in The Lord’s business. But here is this good man, Isaac, and he goes down to the Philistine’s bordertown of Gerar:
“And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:…” This next verse is why we call this segment of Scripture “promise.” God is constantly promising Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob of things to come, if they’ll be obedient. So to Isaac He makes the promise.
“Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries,…”
Do you see that? The Arab world thinks they are going to drive Israel into the sea, bless their hearts. I have a heart for the Arab as well as for anybody else. But I’ll tell you what, if they only knew their Scripture, they’d quit fighting about it and resign themselves to the will of God, because God has promised that whole area of the Middle East to the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and no one else. So he repeats it to Isaac here in this verse.
“…and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father. And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries (and here comes the repeat of the Abrahamic Covenant of Chapter 12) and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed….” That’s looking forward to The Messiah, Who would come through the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Nation of Israel.
“Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Abraham was obedient and faithful. That’s why Paul lifts him up in Romans as the epitome of a man of faith. He wasn’t perfect; he had his downfalls and failures like we all do. But he was a man of faith. When God spoke, Abraham believed: “And Isaac dwelt in Gerar…”
He didn’t go into Egypt, but he got as close as he dared. And he does the same identical thing that Abraham did. Now, these guys had beautiful wives, evidently:
“And the men of the place asked him of his wife and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife, lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon. And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.” They were behaving as only husband and wife would behave there in the Orient, and so old king Abimelech put two and two together, and he thought, “She’s not a sister. She’s his wife.”
“And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, ‘Because I said, Lest I die for her.’ And Abimelech said, ‘What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.’ And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, ‘He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.'”
“And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants; and the Philistines envied him.” See, people were no different then than they are now.
“For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth.”
You know, there in the Middle East, a well was everything, wasn’t it? If you didn’t have water, you had nothing. And this was one of the favorite ploys of an enemy, to plug their wells, and that’s what they were doing now to Isaac.
“And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us, for thou art much mightier than we.”
And so we find in the coming verses, that Isaac departs and he goes all the way back over to where Abraham had spent a lot of his time. Isaac will spend his time also in that major city, which in the land of Israel today, Beersheba. Those of you who have been to Israel in the last several years, knowing Beersheba is a thriving university town, even though it’s out there in the middle of the desert. It’s the same Beersheba that we have back here in the Book of Genesis. Well, let’s go on in the chapter and pick up at verse 24:
“And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake. And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac’s servants digged a well.” In other words he settles down:
“And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me (speaking to Abimelech’s servants), seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you? And they said, ‘We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee;’ and we said, ‘Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee; That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good…’ …And he made them a feast, and did eat and drink. And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water.” You know what that meant to a Middle Easterner? That was the very staff of life to have water.
“And he called it Shebah, therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day. And Esau (and remember we’re dealing with Isaac and now his two sons, Jacob and Esau) was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:…” Now remember this is Esau:
“Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.”
Do you see what that says? And why did Esau do it? He was destitute of faith. They had been instructed from day one not to consort with the Canaanites. But old Esau, destitute of faith, a rebel from the beginning, goes out and marries two Canaanite women.