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God's Sovereignty: Jacob and Esau

Updated on September 24, 2011
Jacob & Esau
Jacob & Esau

Which Gospel?

If any of you have read my hub Don’t Limit His Love, but have not yet read my hubs The Lamb’s Book of Life and And the Books Were Opened, I pray you will read all three of them. There’s just so much ground to cover regarding the predestination theory, as to God’s “choosing” those who are saved and “choosing” to send some to damnation without hope of ever being saved. We’re going to cover a little more on the subject of God’s sovereignty here.

Before we go on, let me ask you something. If you were not “born again”, would you feel the love of God, if the “gospel” preached to you stated, “God is sovereign and has chosen the few for salvation, but not the rest. I don’t know if you’re one of His chosen, but it’s possible you are not. If not, you have no say-so as to where you’ll spend your eternity. You’re going to hell because God predestined you for that. He chose me, on the other hand, and I’m sorry for you.”

Or, would you feel the love of God, if the gospel preached to you stated, “God is sovereign and predestined you for salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, who loved you so much He gave His life to forgive you for your sin. You have the choice to receive His sacrifice, accept His forgiveness, trust Him to transform you into His likeness, walk in the assurance you’ve been saved, and share this gospel with anyone and everyone because He doesn’t favor one above the other. He is no respecter of persons. Anyone who believes this gospel will be saved.”

Which is the true gospel?

One of the arguments used by those who believe God predestines some to salvation (mercy) and others to damnation (hatred) is found in the following passage, which is the basis for our topic today:

Rom 9:13-16 (from Malachi 1:2-3) “Just as it is written, ‘JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.’ What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, ‘I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.’ So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” (Please understand by reading Eph 2:8-9)

Esau - sold out
Esau - sold out
Judas - sold out
Judas - sold out

Esau and his Descendants

Did God HATE (despise) Esau? The word used for “hate” in the Hebrew is sane, which means God regarded Esau as an enemy. Indeed, God knew Esau and his descendants would persecute Jacob and his descendants, mainly putting Jesus on the cross. Does that mean Esau and his descendants were prevented from salvation? Read on.

Consider that Esau was born of Isaac, the “son of promise” to Abraham. Therefore, he was Abraham’s literal seed. It is thought that Judas Iscariot was possibly a descendant of Esau, as he was of Idumean (Edomite) ancestry. What did Esau and Judas have in common? They both sold their “birth right” in different ways: Esau for food (physical birthright) and Judas for 30 pieces of silver (spiritual birthright). According to, “… the opposing religious Jews at the time of Christ's suffering were actually summed up as being in Esau who sold his birthright. In fact, their accepted king at that time was a descendant of Esau, an Edomite named Herod, whose anointing was via the "high priest" Caesar of Rome…” While many of the Pharisees and Sadducees were Edomites, some were Israelites as well.

Now, let’s look at the words of Jesus as He was about to die on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Was Jesus addressing the whole world, or just those who put Him on the cross? Was He forever forgiving them of ALL their sin or just the sin of crucifying Him? It was the latter in both cases. Why? Indeed, they crucified Jesus accusing Him of blasphemy, while they were the ones guilty of blasphemy! The only unforgivable sin in the Bible is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. Consider their accusations in Mat 12:24 “But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.’" If God were to hold this sin against the Jews (Edomites and Israelites), they would be without hope of salvation!

It was too late for Judas, for he was already dead when Jesus said these words. The Bible not only records Jesus as stating Judas was a “devil” (John 6:70), but that “Satan entered him” (John 13:27). While Judas is said to have “repented himself” (Mat 27:3) before committing suicide, the word used for “repented” here is metamelomai (meaning regret). On the other hand, the word used for repentance unto salvation is metanoeó (meaning to reconsider [morally, feel compunction] – repent). The Apostle Paul showed this difference in 2 Cor 7:10 “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance [metanoeó] without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

For more on the grace of God shown to the descendants of Esau, read Deut 2:21-22.

Isaac - a picture of Christ
Isaac - a picture of Christ
Jesus - the Promise
Jesus - the Promise

Jacob and his Descendants

Now, since we can’t rationally conclude that all of Esau’s descendants were prevented from salvation, we also must ask if all of Jacob’s descendants WERE chosen for salvation. To do this, let’s read some more of the prefacing verses in Romans 9.

Verses 4-8 state, “who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

“But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: ‘THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.’ That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.” Again, Esau was also born of Isaac, was he not? Amen.

Now, let’s flip over to Chapter 11. Paul is addressing saved Gentiles in this passage. Truly, the chosen of Israel were CUT OFF because of their disbelief! Yes, God partially hardened their hearts for a reason ~ so the Gentiles (the wild olive tree) could be grafted in to the promise made to Israel (the cultivated olive tree). Verses 23-25 state, “And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved.” THIS is spiritual Israel!!

Withering leaves
Withering leaves
The Olive Tree
The Olive Tree
Savior of the World - Artist: Charles Zingard
Savior of the World - Artist: Charles Zingard

The Seed of Abraham

Romans is truly a great book! Rom 3:23 proclaims that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Even the Prophet Isaiah wrote in 64:6, “For ALL of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And ALL of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”

Where else do we see scripture regarding “withering leaves”? Consider Jesus' parable of the fig tree in Mat 21:19 “Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, ‘No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.’ And at once the fig tree withered.”

Speaking of “take us away”, let’s look at the words of Jesus in John 15:2: “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” The NIV states it this way: “He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit.”

Earlier, we read in Rom 9:8 that “the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.” If you observe other versions of this verse, this is speaking of Abraham’s “seed” or “offspring”. Truly, being born of physical Israel does not make one Abraham’s offspring, for one can be cut off by rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ. Likewise, not being born of physical Israel does not prevent one from becoming Abraham’s offspring, for Gal 3:28-29 tell us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.”

For God so LOVED the WORLD
For God so LOVED the WORLD
WHOSOVER! That means YOU!
WHOSOVER! That means YOU!

What IS The Gospel of Christ?

God is LOVING: John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but has eternal life.” Please KNOW that “God is NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS” (Acts 10:34).

God is DESIROUS for man to repent: 2 Pet 3:9 states, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

God is GRACIOUS in FORGIVING SIN & GIVING ETERNAL LIFE: John 5:24 states, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

God is REACHABLE by all through one bridge, Jesus Christ: John 14:6 states, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”


Rom 10:9 "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

1 John 1:9 states, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."


John 1:12-13 state, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood (womb), nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

YOU CAN BE BORN AGAIN!!! For more about salvation, I invite you to read my hub Come to Jesus: Salvation. Be blessed this day, in Jesus’ most holy name!

There's ROOM at the CROSS for YOU!
There's ROOM at the CROSS for YOU!


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    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      10 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Joni, I love what you had to say ~ amen!! I did a study on loving our enemies and published it in two hubs: "HATED on Account of My Name" and "Get Thee Behind Me". We love because God first loved us; amen (1 John 4:19). Agape love is a demonstrative love as shown in Rom 5:8: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." However, friendship with the world [and its ways] is hostility toward God (James 4:4). There's a balance! God bless you!

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      10 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Hi sister Ann! I'm so glad you realize Calvinism is off the mark. There are varios degrees of Calvinism, but any doctrine that teaches God wills some to damnation without HOPE of salvation is a cult! I know of one who truly believed (because of this Calvinist doctrine) that God hated him and he was miserable. He then hated God. How can one preach the gospel of salvation to such a person when they've already been poisoned?

      God being all-knowing does not mean He doesn't desire all men to be saved. You will see this very clearly, if you read my other hubs that are linked at the base of this one: "Don't Limit His Love", "The Lamb's Book of Life" and its sequel "And The Books Were Opened". Also, my most recent one, "The Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart" (which Calvisists LOVE to use, twisted out of context) will surely be revealing.

      AS LONG AS I SHALL LIVE, I WILL TESTIFY TO LOVE!!! That video is on my "Don't Limit His Love" hub! Be BLESSED!!!

    • Ann Lee profile image

      Ann Lee 

      10 years ago

      Great hub. Salvation is for all. I had a Baptist friend explain the Calvinistic view to me once: God knows who is going to accept Him and who is going to reject Him, so that is what is meant by predestined.

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      10 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Hi sister Laurie! You are so right ~ 1 Cor 3:7 "So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth." Jesus promised He would draw all men to Himself, if He be lifted up from the earth (John 12:32) and surely no one can come to the Father unless he is drawn (John 6:44). That's WHY He came. He took the authority away from the god of this world (Satan - 2 Cor 4:4; Mat 28:18) and is not hindered in drawing all of mankind. If you read my latest hub, "The Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart", you will be comforted in knowing it is truly the heart of man (soil) that will determine His love of or the rejection of that drawing.

      May our Lord Jesus Christ be praised forever! I love you, sis!!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Beautiful hub Sister JD! Your love is always so very evident in your writings!

      Our commission is to plant the seed and pray--not to try to determine who we think will receive the message, and who won't! We are not appointed to judge, just to 'love', and 'preach' the gospel and 'pray' for all to receive the message with gladness and obey it.

      We do what we can, God will do what we can't! And in the end, we can hopefully have brought Glory to God--for he is so deserving of all Glory!

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      10 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Hi sister Carlotta! I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and the comments. I surely am thankful for those who've come by to read and encourage, confirming the message of God's love ~ you, too!! Blessings to you as well!! Keep that fire fanned and burnin' brightly!! Luv U!!

    • drpastorcarlotta profile image

      Pastor Dr Carlotta Boles 

      10 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

      Wonderful Hub Judah's Daughter. I agree with Love To Read as well. I enjoyed reading the comments of your other Fans, they caught my attention and my heart! Blessings to you!!!

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      10 years ago from Roseville, CA

      You're always such a breath of fresh air, brother Loves To Read :-) Hyper-Calvinism, or "Calvinism" in general takes this approach of God only loving some, obviously then only dying for some, and thereby being only willing to save some ~ while He predestines everyone else to hell without hope of salvation whatsoever. That's just a terrible gospel, if you ask me.

      A Calvinist pastor even went so far as to write 2 Pet 3:9 as follows "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you [the elect], not wishing for any [of the elect] to perish but for all [the elect] to come to repentance." Can you believe this?

      "Oh, Lord, You are able yet to open their eyes...and we so trust You to bring them into knowing Your great, all-encompasing LOVE".

      God bless you abundantly, brother. I so appreciate you and your love for Jesus and His marvelous creation ~ ALL people. Amen!

    • Loves To Read profile image

      Loves To Read 

      10 years ago

      Great informative hub Judah's Daughter. You can't tell it any clearer than that. Anyone who cares to read the scriptures can see for themselves.However, we must be filled with God's Spirit for our eyes and hearts need to be fully open to understanding His word. This is where so many are being deceived by the enemy. They read and without understanding the depth of God's word they make their own interpretations.

      Thus up springs another new denomination.

      God bless you sister.

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      10 years ago from Roseville, CA

      AMEN, allpurposeguru! Consider that God willed - now, just look up that word in 1 Tim 2:4 "who wills ALL MEN to be saved", for it is the Greek word theló, meaning to wish/desire - God willed Israel as His chosen through Jacob. However, if people would read Ezekiel 18:20-32, they would see that the LORD says it is not His ways that are "not right", but their [Israel's] ways that are "not right" ~ He tells them they must repent and live, for He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. FREE WILL and the command to repent is right there in black and white. Considering the LORD was speaking to them directly, the idea of "irresistable grace" goes right out the door. They certainly had the choice to NOT repent and die or REPENT and live.

      Acts 17:30-31 likewise tell the world, "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is NOW declaring to men that ALL PEOPLE EVERYWHERE should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, HAVING FURNISHED PROOF TO ALL MEN by raising Him from the dead." Hallelujah ~ AMEN!! God bless you, brother!

    • allpurposeguru profile image

      David Guion 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Good hub! I think the gift of free will means that God does not get his way in every detail. He certainly did not want Adam to sin, but sin he did. In love, he wants all sinners to repent, but in order to respect the gift of free will, he must allow some not to. God will not so much send people to hell as let them go there if they really insist. And since we cannot look on the heart, where God looks, it really isn't any of our business who goes where in the afterlife. I think that's my greatest objection to predestination as it is so often "understood." People assume that they will be saved, but someone else will not because of some kind of outward appearance.

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      10 years ago from Roseville, CA

      fred allen, I so appreciate your comment. The Bible does prophesy that not all will be saved, for Jesus said in Mat 7:13 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it." He is that narrow gate (John 10:7) and it is open to all who will follow (John 10:27). Amen. Thanks for becoming a fan! I've joined your fan club as well :-) God bless you!

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      10 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Brother Bob ~ I remember that song, too!! Great song. Truly, Abraham seemed a foreshadow of our Father in heaven, in that by faith he was willing to sacrifice Isaac, his only son of promise ~ just as our Lord did for us. What love and what faith that saved then and now! In Christ, we are Abraham's offspring and children of God. Praise Him forevermore!! Luv U!!

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      10 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Hi sister, Brie! I sooooo appreciate you coming by to read and for your encouragment. God bless you ~ luv u so much!!

    • fred allen profile image

      fred allen 

      10 years ago from Myrtle Beach SC

      Thank you for your focus on God"s grace whis=ch is in fact available to all. I know there are 2 perspectives that need to be acknowledged to understand election. God's view which sees in advance how man will use the free will He has given us. And Mans view which is rooted in the past and present. We cannot see the end from the beginning. Therefore we should conclude that all are given the opportunity of His salvation and reach out accordingly.

    • Joni Douglas profile image

      Joni Douglas 

      10 years ago

      Ministers today ignore much of the wisdom of the Old Testament. But one can not comprehend the New if you disregard the Old. They are intricately tied together as you so aptly show.

      Hate as an enemy yet we are told to love our enemies. Some may see this as a contradiction, perhaps they don't understand grace. Great Job!

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 

      10 years ago from Rochester, New York

      All of us in Christ's Born Again family are Abraham's spiritual children. Reminds me of the child's hymn. "Father Abraham has many sons, many sons have father Abraham, I am one of them and so are you, so let's just praise the Lord." Truly Abraham's seed is as the stars of the heavens for multitude. Loved this hub, my sister. Love you.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 

      10 years ago from Manhattan

      Nice hub about a very difficult topic.


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