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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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