For Your Consideration
God decreed that certain, specific persons, groups, and/or nations would be entirely destroyed, never to be heard from again. This is true not only for Edom, but others such as Babylon, Nineveh, Jezebel, and so forth. Every one of them were literal people or groups who came to a literal end just as God declared. However, they are mentioned again throughout the Bible. They existed and were dealt with literally, but they also continue to exist as what we call “biblical types”, spiritual examples used to teach greater spiritual truths and even foreshadowing or prefiguring greater, like events or people to come. Babylon was gone for many centuries when Peter referred to Rome as “Babylon”, and has been extinct another couple of thousand years on top of that even though Babylon is prominent in the book of Revelation for us this very day.
Q: What is the biblical typology of Jacob and Esau? What greater teaching do they represent?
A: It’s the struggle of the “flesh” (Esau) versus the “Spirit” (Jacob). [Note: If you have time, re-read Obadiah in this light.]
Q: How might Esau typify the “flesh”?
A: Esau was the handsome, athletic, outgoing man who had everything going for him from man’s typically shallow point of view. Spiritually, however, he proved himself not very deep in his renouncement of his birthright in exchange for a bowl of soup. His behavior was to live according to the flesh – man’s ways – as opposed to God’s.
Q: How might Jacob typify the “Spirit”?
A: Although he was basically a selfish homebody who had none of the appealing physical characteristics of his brother, what Jacob DID have was God’s grace. Everything ultimately came through Jacob – God’s people, God’s Word, God’s salvation – as a teaching that it is not the result of merit, but God’s grace or choice of US. Whereas Esau gave up spiritual fights fairly easily as in the example of selling his birthright, Jacob actually wrestled with God, attempting to resolve such issues.
Q: Are there other biblical examples of this struggle of Esau vs. Jacob, the flesh vs. the Spirit?
A: The Herods were all Edomites.
- One Herod killed all the male, Jewish babies in an attempt to eliminate the Messiah, the rightful King of Israel.
- Another Herod killed John the Baptist.
- Yet another Herod killed the apostle James.
- David conquered Edom, and Christ’s Second Coming will be in the person of David, the “Conquering King”.
Q: How does this continue to this very day?
A: The Jews and Arabs (other descendants of Esau) are locked in both physical and spiritual battle – as they have throughout all of history – until the return of Christ.