Could the fact that Jacob, Isaac's second-born, received the blessing of his first-born twin, Esau, foreshadow a greater purpose or principle that God had in mind?

Email Received:

I've never really understood why Jacob, the second-born of Isaac, was blessed and received the inheritance that legally belonged to his first-born twin, Esau. I know that Esau gave up his birthright, but how could God allow this? Could this foreshadow a greater purpose or principle that God had in mind?

Ted's Response:

There are several examples in Bible accounts where the second of a pair was blessed more than, or in some way was greater than, the first one that came before it. I believe that this foreshadows the fact that the second Creation to come will be greater than the present Creation that we see now (see old and new Creations).

Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Although Ishmael was the elder, God promised Abraham that He would establish His everlasting covenant with Isaac, not with Ishmael (Genesis 17:19-21).

Isaac had twin sons, Esau and Jacob (the latter being called Israel). God appointed the older to serve the younger (Genesis 25:23b); and later, Esau gave up his birthright as the firstborn to Jacob (25:31-34).

Jacob's third son Judah also had twin sons, Zerah and Perez. Zerah's hand came out first, so technically he was the "firstborn" into the world. However, Zerah drew back his hand, and Perez was the first to emerge fully from the womb (Genesis 38:27-30).

Jacob's first son, Reuben, legally had Jacob's birthright. However, Reuben disqualified himself to receive this birthright by sleeping with one of Jacob's concubines, Bilhah (Genesis 35:22). As a result, the rights of the firstborn were passed to Joseph, who was the first son of Rachel, Jacob's second wife (1 Chronicles 5:1,2)

Furthermore, when Jacob was near death, his son Joseph brought his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to be blessed (Genesis 48:1,2,8,9). However, Jacob chose to put the secondborn, Ephraim, over his older brother, Manasseh (48:10-20). So Ephraim received the rights of the firstborn.

King David—a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and Perez—had another man killed and took his wife, Bathsheba, as his own. Because this displeased God (2 Samuel 12:14,15), David and Bathsheba's firstborn son, whose conception was steeped in sin, died on the seventh day after birth (12:18a). However, their second son, Solomon, was loved by the Lord (12:24,25). Solomon succeeded his father David as king (1 Kings 2:12).

Not only did God give Solomon greater wisdom than any other man before or since, and more riches and honor than any king (1 Kings 3:12,13, 4:29-31a, 10:23,24), God also promised Solomon that his royal throne would be established over Israel forever (9:5). Thus, the first son, a product of sin, died; but the second son became the wisest and richest man in the world.

Therefore, a very exceptional blessing was bestowed upon all of these "second-placers":

The extraordinary blessing was that through the legal lineage of Isaac, Jacob, Perez, and Solomon, the Messiah and Savior of the world, Jesus, would come (Matthew 1:1-3,6,16).

The first Adam was imperfect from the moment he was created, having been formed out of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). He did not become imperfect because he sinned. He sinned because he was imperfect; otherwise, he would not have been capable of sinning. Due to his sin, Adam's right to reign over this Creation was revoked; and, at some point later, he died.

"The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam [Jesus], a life-giving spirit" (1 Corinthians 15:45). The "last Adam" or "second man" (15:47), Jesus, was perfect; and through Him, anyone can be made alive forever (15:22). Moreover, Jesus came once to die for the sins of mankind, and He will come again to "bring salvation to those who are waiting for him" (Hebrews 9:28) and also to "reign forever and ever" (Revelation 11:15b).

Due to David's sin, David and Bathsheba's first son died on the seventh day following his birth. Now, this first Creation, like the first (imperfect) man Adam, is steeped in sin. And like David and Bathsheba's first son, this Creation will "die" on the seventh "day" (2 Samuel 12:18a). It will "flee away" (Revelation 20:11b) because it will cease to exist. However, the second Creation to come will be infinitely greater, like Jesus who was perfect. After the Millennium, this universe will be replaced by another, brand new universe, because the first one will have "passed away" (Revelation 21:1a).

Here is a quote from God Himself: "I am making everything new!" (Revelation 21:5a). "New" is not the same as "renewed" or "restored"; something that is "new" has not been in use, nor even has existed, prior to that time. If something is brand "new," it does not have flaws which have been repaired. Ideally, being "new" signifies that something is without defect or blemish, from its inception. Thus, a brand new realm will come into existence when God creates again (after the seventh "day" is over); however, that perfect heaven and earth of the future will "live" on, immaculately and pristinely, with no end.

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