Heaven and Earth
Everything started when God created the heavens, and it spilled over to earth. For, in the end, Jesus says, the heavens and the earth will pass away. What will remain is recorded in Matthew 24:32-35.
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: When its branch becomes tender and grows leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you shall see all these things, you know that it is near, even at the doors. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. M19
It may be shocking to read these words that Jesus spoke about several centuries ago. But it doesn’t change the fact that what Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24:35 will come to pass.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. M20
HEAVEN AND EARTH WILL PASS AWAY, BUT MY WORDS WILL NEVER PASS AWAY
It’s hard to imagine that one-day heaven and earth will no longer exist. But this passing away event that Jesus spoke about will take place because He said, “My words will never pass away.”
In Merriam-Webster, pass away means:
- to go out of existence
When Jesus said, “My words will never pass away.” He was telling the truth in every way. He was saying My words will never go out of existence; My words will never die.
The reason why Jesus’s words can never die, pass away, or go out of existence can also be found in John 1:1-4.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were created through Him, and without Him nothing was created that was created. In Him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. M21
From John 1:14 we learn whom the Word that was spoken about earlier is.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. M22
How can the Word, which is the only Son of the Father pass away?
God can never pass away, it is for this reason likewise, the word of God which is His Only Son Jesus Christ can also never pass away.
If we now look up the meaning of the word “die,” in Merriam-Webster we get the following:
- to stop living,
- to end life in a specified state or condition,
- to have or suffer (a specified kind of death),
- to pass from physical life,
- to disappear or subside gradually,
- to cease functioning,
- end in failure.MW2
What now becomes apparent is that heaven and earth will, go out of existence, where it will be the end of life in a specified condition. It also means that the inhabitants of heaven and earth would have to suffer a specified kind of death to pass from physical life, disappear from earth and gradually cease functioning for the physical body will end in failure.
All of this has been spoken about in scripture just not as short and to the point like how Jesus framed it.
Let us go first to Revelation 20:11-15.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. From His face, the earth and the heavens fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. Books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their works as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one by his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.M23
The “second death” spoken of earlier is just like the meaning we got from understanding “pass away” in its entirety. The explanation from where the inhabitants of heaven and earth would have to suffer a specified kind of death to pass from physical life.
To me, it can’t get more specific in trying to document the specified kind of death when the words “the lake of fire” is spoken about.
What exactly is the lake of fire?
To better understand that, we need to break that down and analyze the meaning of each word.
Let us begin with the word lake and see what Merriam-Webster defines as a lake:
- a large inland body of standing water;
- a pool of other liquid (as lava, oil, or pitch),
- a purplish-red pigment,
- any of numerous usually bright translucent organic pigments composed essentially of a soluble dye absorbed on or combined with an inorganic carrier,
- to cause (blood) to undergo a physiological change in which the hemoglobin becomes dissolved in the plasma. MW3
The most interesting of those definitions for the word lake is a reference to having blood change in some way. Now, let’s look at the word fire from Merriam-Webster and identify any interesting definitions:
- the light and heat and especially the flame produced by burning,
- an occurrence in which something burns: the destruction of something (such as a building or a forest) by fire,
- a controlled occurrence of fire created by burning something (such as wood or gas) in a special area (such as in a fireplace or stove),
- the phenomenon of combustion manifested in light, flame, and heat,
- burning passion,
- death or torture by fire,
- severe trial or ordeal,
- fuel in a state of combustion. MW4
Isn’t it interesting how fire is also referred to as death and torture, a severe trial or ordeal?
We know from Revelation 20 the lake of fire is considered to be the second death.
A lake of fire which will cause (blood) to undergo a physiological change in which it becomes dissolved in the plasma of fire. It will become a fuel in a state of combustion due to burning passion.
In Revelation 20:11-12 it says:
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. From His face, the earth and the heavens fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. Books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their works as recorded in the books. M24
The amazing thing in that passage was not that the dead, small and great were standing before God, but that the earth and the heavens fled away from the face of Him, who was seated on a great white throne.
The earth and the heavens fled away, and no place was found for them. Isn’t that extremely interesting!
No place was found for them are some very interesting words to use. Merriam-Webster defines place as follows:
- a specific area or region of the world
- a building or area that is used for a particular purpose
- a building, part of a building, or area that is used for shelter MW5
This would mean that they tried to find a place for the earth and the heavens, but they found no suitable area or region to put them in, as they found no purpose for them anymore not even as a shelter.
If the earth and the heavens pass away because they are no longer needed where then is the lake of fire?
The lake of fire hiding in plain sight will be revealed when the heavens and the earth passes away as there was no place or purpose found for them. The lake of fire has a purpose and in Matthew 25:41-42 Jesus says:
“Then He will say to those at the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger, and you did not take Me in, I was naked, and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ M25
Jesus says something very interesting here He says, “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
To understand this key that Jesus is giving we first need to understand the meaning of the word prepared from Merriam-Webster:
- to make (someone or something) ready for some activity, purpose
- to make yourself ready for something that you will be doing, something that you expect to happen
- to make or create (something) so that it is ready for use
- to work out the details of
- plan in advance
- to put together
- to put into written form MW6
Jesus said the eternal fire was made ready for some activity, for something He expected to happen. The details of the eternal fire were all worked out, it was planned in advance and put together even into the words written down.
The key that Jesus gave was the timing of the events by saying the eternal fire was prepared for the devil and his angels. What that means is that the devil and his angels have not been put there yet. Otherwise, He would have said into the eternal fire with the devil and his angels.
Let us now understand the chronology of the events with this key Jesus gave us.
We will start in Revelation 19:11-21 where John saw heaven opened. And there was a white horse. He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written, that no one knows but He Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood. His name is called The Word of God. The armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Out of His mouth proceeds a sharp sword, with which He may strike the nations. “He shall rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury and wrath of God the Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried with a loud voice to all the birds flying in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather for the supper of the great God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of commanders, the flesh of strong men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great!”
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to wage war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. But the beast was captured and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone. The remnant were slain with the sword which proceeded out of the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds gorged themselves with their flesh. M26
The beast and the false prophet will be captured by Jesus and thrown into the lake of fire a fiery lake of burning sulfur.
After this takes place we see in Revelation 20:1-6 that John saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a little while.
I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and the authority to judge was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness of Jesus and for the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who takes part in the first resurrection. Over these, the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years. M27
The first judgment and the first resurrection comes upon the earth by Jesus Christ during His thousand (1,000) year rule.
We see this spoken about in Matthew 25:31-46.
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. Before Him will be gathered all nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. He will set the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left.
“Then the King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me food, I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger, and you took Me in. I was naked, and you clothed Me, I was sick, and you visited Me, I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and come to You?’
“The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you, as you have done it for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you have done it for Me.’
“Then He will say to those at the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger, and you did not take Me in, I was naked, and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they also will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not serve You?’
“He will answer, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it not for one of the least of these, you did it not for Me.’
“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” M28
In Revelation 20:7-10, when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be set free from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them for battle. Their number is like the sand of the sea. They traveled the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. But fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet were. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever. M29
It is after the thousand (1,000) year rule that the devil was given permission one last time to find those that still did not believe and wanted to come against God’s people again. These are the last soldiers of Satan that are coming together against the camp of God’s people. At the end of this, the devil will be thrown into the lake of fire along with the beast and false prophet.
Isn’t it interesting that the Gog and Magog war will take place after the thousand-year rule of Jesus! The Gog and Magog war are so far, far away, that it isn’t something for us to focus on now.
This is why God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; a lack of understanding about what is going to be taking place. Jesus has told us in Mark 13:7.
When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled. For such things must happen, but the end is still to come. M30
Wars have to break out, such things must happen, but the end is still to come. The end which is the war of Gog and Magog is still to come.
Now that we have understood the first judgment, it’s time we understand the second judgment. This time, it’s God turn, and we can see what God will do in Revelation 20:11-15.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. From His face, the earth and the heavens fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. Books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their works as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one by his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.M31
If I were to draw that out visually so it would be easier to comprehend it would look something like this:
What’s interesting about the last judgment is that the heavens and the earth pass away. This probably explains why the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. There was no place found for them to hide or remain anymore.
The next amazing thing to me in that passage is that this is the second judgment spoken about. The first judgment is by Jesus for all those that are living. Jesus did not pass judgment on any of the dead. Instead the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness of Jesus and for the word of God; those who did not worship the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
The second judgment is by God, and this judgment is not on the living but on the dead. The dead, small and great, were standing before God.
What’s beautiful and heartwarming is that God judgment includes our works. With this, we can see the fulfillment of scripture in James 2:25.
Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?M32
We can now better understand what is being said in James 2:26.
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead. M33
The dead were judged according to their works as recorded in the Books (of works, of mercy) along with the Book of Life. The dead that were judged by God were as follows:
- those that had works but no faith.
- those that had faith but no works.
In James 2:1-12 we see that works (actions) will be judged by the law. We also see the law of liberty which is the mercy we show towards others being used towards us at our hour of judgment.
My brothers, have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, without partiality. For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your assembly, and also a poor man in ragged clothing comes in, and you have respect for him who wears the fine clothing and say to him, “Sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor, “Stand there,” or “Sit here under my footstool,” have you not then become partial among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Listen, my beloved brothers. Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to those who love Him? But you have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you and drag you before the judgment seats? Do they not blaspheme that worthy name by which you are called?
If you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as sinners. For whoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point is guilty of breaking the whole law. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not kill.” Now if you do not commit adultery, yet you kill, you have become a lawbreaker.
So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For he who has shown no mercy will have judgment without mercy, for mercy triumphs over judgment. M34
That passage explains some of the rules of judgment, but now we need to understand how we could end up being the dead that was spoken about.
For this understanding, we need to look at James 2:14-24.
What does it profit, my brothers, if a man says he has faith but has no works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and lacking daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” and yet you give them nothing that the body needs, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
But a man may say, “You have faith, and I have works.”
Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God; you do well. The demons also believe and tremble.
But do you want to be shown, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham, our father, justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? Do you see how faith worked with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? The Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. You see then how by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. M35
It is through this passage in James where we can understand why the judgment before God can lead to the second death.
For those that are dead due to lack of works and faith could end up in the lake of fire. Those that have works will be judged, and the mercy they extended to others will be used towards their judgment. But there will be those that may have faith and no works and they too will be judged. In Ecclesiastes 3:17 it says:
God will bring judgment to the righteous and the wicked, for there is an appropriate time for every matter and deed. M36
Another interesting thing is said in Ecclesiastes 3:18-21. Regarding the account of sons of men, God is making clear to them to show that they are but animals. For what befalls the sons of men befalls animals; as one dies, so dies the other. There is one breath for all of them; there is no advantage for man any more than animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place: All are from the dust and all return to dust. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of animals goes down to the earth? M37
Whether the spirit of man or of the animal goes upward or down is governed in part by what is said in Genesis 9:5-6.
But for your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning; from every animal will I require it; of man, too, will I require a reckoning for human life, of every man for that of his fellow man.
Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in His own image. M38
Speaking of the image of God, in John 1:18 it says, no one has seen God at any time. The only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known. M39
Jesus has made known to us what God looks like. Even though nobody has seen God, the closest mankind has gotten to seeing God is through His Son Jesus Christ. This reminds me of the story in Genesis 32:22-31.
The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream along with all that he had. Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him there until daybreak. When the man saw that He did not prevail against Jacob, He touched the socket of his thigh, so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated, as he wrestled with Him. Then He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”
But Jacob said, “I will not let You go, unless You bless me.”
So He said to him, “What is your name?”
And he said, “Jacob.”
Then the man said, “Your name will no more be called Jacob, but Israel. For you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
Then Jacob asked Him, “Tell me, I pray You, Your name.”
But He said, “Why do you ask Me My name?” Then He blessed him there.
Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “I have seen God face to face, and my life has been preserved.”
As he crossed over Peniel, the sun rose over him, and he was limping on his thigh. Therefore, to this day, the children of Israel do not eat the sinew which is attached to the socket of the thigh, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip. M40
This by far is an extraordinarily interesting story that first talks about the fact that Jacob in the night after he was alone, wrestled with a man.
To understand where the man came from because he was alone, we need to look at Genesis 32:1-2 where it says, Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp.” So he called the name of that place Mahanaim. M41
If you noticed, it was Jacob who called the place he was in God’s camp, it wasn’t the angels! It was when Jacob saw the angels that met him at that area he decided to call that place Mahanaim.
The meanings of the word Mahanaim in Strong’s Concordance are:
- Two camps
- A place East of the Jordan OR1
We see this meaning written among the words in Genesis 32:7-12.
Then Jacob was very afraid and distressed, and he divided the people that were with him, along with the flocks and herds and the camels, into two groups. He said, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the other camp which is left may escape.”
And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’ I am not worthy of all the loving kindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant. For with my staff I crossed over this Jordan, and now I have become two encampments. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau. For I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children. You said, ‘I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too many to be counted.’” M42
What we see in this story is that the house of Jacob was divided into two camps. The place that Jacob called God’s camp was divided so that it could survive in the event it came under attack.
Likewise, God’s army is divided into two camps, one camp is made up of angels and the other of men.
In Matthew 26:53 Jesus says; do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will at once give Me more than twelve legions of angels? M43
These angels of God are part of Gods army, and the Son of the Father has His army, soldiers of men.
For Jesus became flesh as written in John 1:14. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. M44
Jesus is the commander-in-chief of the other army camp, and He is our enlisting officer. In 2 Timothy 2:3-4 it says.
Endure hard times as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No soldier on active duty entangles himself with civilian affairs, that he may please the enlisting officer. M45
This camp of God is of angels and men. At the beginning of Genesis 32:1-2. Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp.” So he called the name of that place Mahanaim. M46
We see the reference to men in Genesis 32:28. Then the man said, “Your name will no more be called Jacob, but Israel. For you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed.”M47
Now in the story of Genesis 32:24-26. Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him there until daybreak. When the man saw that He did not prevail against Jacob, He touched the socket of his thigh, so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated, as he wrestled with Him. Then He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”
But Jacob said, “I will not let You go, unless You bless me.” M48
Jacob did not fight and wrestle with men but with one man. In that wrestle, the man saw that He did not prevail against Jacob. To understand the significance of what is being said by that man, we first need to look at the definition of prevail in Merriam-Webster:
- to defeat an opponent especially in a long or difficult contest
- to be usual, common, or popular
- to be or continue to be in use
- to gain ascendancy through strength or superiority MW7
During the wrestle with Jacob, this man was unable to defeat His opponent in a long contest that took place at night, this was unusual for the man, and the wrestle with Jacob continued despite the man having strength and superiority.
We see in Genesis 32:25 that when the man saw, that He did not prevail against Jacob, He touched the socket of his thigh, so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated, as he wrestled with Him. M49
In this amazing and unusual story, we are not told the name of the man that wrestled with Jacob. Even in Genesis 32:29 Jacob asked Him, “Tell me, I pray You, Your name.”
But He said, “Why do you ask Me My name?” Then He blessed him there. M50
There are two clues given as to whom this man is. The first clue is in Genesis 32:26. Then He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” M51
In Genesis 1:14-18 (NIV) God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. N1
This man needed Jacob to set Him free before night turns to day. Before the day breaks and the greater light (sun) that has been put in place by God to govern the day comes to shine its light on the earth.
For the lesser light has been given permission by God to only govern the night and not the day.
It is in Genesis 1:5 (NIV) where God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” N2 And in Genesis 1:15 (NIV) where God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. N3
The man that wrestled with Jacob clearly wanted to leave before the sun shone, before daylight. This is why in Genesis 32:25-26 when the man saw that He did not prevail against Jacob, He touched the socket of his thigh, so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated, as he wrestled with Him. Then He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”
But Jacob said, “I will not let You go, unless You bless me.” M426
The man was running out of time as Jacob did not let Him go unless He blessed him. So in Genesis 32:27-28 He said to him, “What is your name?”
And he said, “Jacob.”
Then the man said, “Your name will no more be called Jacob, but Israel. For you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed.” M52
When we first read the last line of Genesis 32:28, then the man said, “Your name will no more be called Jacob, but Israel. For you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed.”M53
We may not understand why the verse said, men. Based on the story it should have read you have fought with God and man and have prevailed.
That isn’t what that statement was saying although it appears to be that. It is for that reason “men” was said, and not “man” so the confusion of thinking that this statement was referring to the current wrestle between Jacob and the man would not exist.
The statement made by the man that wrestled with Jacob was not that he fought against God and men, but that he fought with God and men. For the man said in Genesis 32:28, “Your name will no more be called Jacob, but Israel. For you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed.” M54
Jacob, who is now Israel, has fought with God and men. He fights for his blessing and more importantly he fights for God’s blessing.
But at the beginning of this story, there is something else that is being spoken about. Jacob knew that he wasn’t wrestling with any ordinary man, and that is why he wanted a blessing from this man.
I’m not sure how many people out there wrestling with other another would keep holding on to them until the opponent gives them their blessing. Normally people wrestle until the other person gives up in defeat and they become the winner.
Jacob wasn’t looking to be a winner; he wasn’t wrestling to win but instead wrestled because he wanted to receive the blessing of this man. It was after the man said to Jacob you will no longer be called Jacob but Israel, as he fought alongside God and men, and have prevailed that Jacob asked Him in Genesis 32:29, “Tell me, I pray You, Your name.” But He said, “Why do you ask Me My name?” Then He blessed him there. M55
What Jacob did and said next was amazing. In Genesis 32:30, Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “I have seen God face to face, and my life has been preserved.” M56
It is in this verse that we realize that Jacob was not incorrect when he said, “I have seen God face to face, and my life has been preserved.” We can find the truth for this statement in John 14:6-11.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that is sufficient for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you such a long time, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. So how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you, I do not speak on My own authority. But the Father who lives in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me. Or else believe Me on account of the works themselves. M57
Jacob life has been preserved because he saw Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and life. He saw the man he wrestled with, for he who has seen Jesus has seen God the Father. Jacob just wanted to know the name of the Messiah, that is why in Genesis 32:29 Jacob asked Him, “Tell me, I pray You, Your name.”
But He said, “Why do you ask Me My name?” Then He blessed him there. M58
Jacob already knew who He was, there was really no need for Jacob to ask the question, just like there was no need for Jesus to answer. For it wasn’t the time yet for the name of Messiah to be revealed. Just like Job in Job 42:5 I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. M59
Why did the wrestle that Jacob have with this man result in Jacob being called Israel?
Could the answer to that be why today everybody wrestles with the land of Israel?
The meaning of Israel is someone who has fought with God and with men and still prevails.
With this knowledge, we can begin to understand the meaning behind the house of Israel. But another interesting thing mentioned in Genesis 32:2 is when Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp.” M60
The significance of calling that place God’s camp and understanding the wrestle that took place, can be found when we look at the meaning of the word camp in Merriam-Webster:
- a place usually away from urban areas where tents or simple buildings (as cabins) are erected for shelter or for temporary residence
- a place usually in the country for recreation or instruction often during the summer
- a preseason training session for athletes
- a body of persons encamped
- a group of persons; especially: a group engaged in promoting or defending a theory, doctrine, position, or person
- military service or life MW8
This would mean that when Jacob was in God’s camp, which is a place that was away from urban areas, a place of instruction, a training session for athletes. It was a place where angels of God had encamped, and it was where people would be engaged in defending their position; a place for military service.
It appears that Jacob was an athlete in training and with this knowledge our understanding of 2 Timothy 2:3-5 deepens.
Endure hard times as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No soldier on active duty entangles himself with civilian affairs, that he may please the enlisting officer. Anyone who competes as an athlete is not rewarded without competing legally. M61
Jacob, a wrestling athlete, was rewarded by being named Israel since he did not give up but prevailed and competed legally. It appears Jacob’s training in holding on and his future of becoming Israel can be found in Genesis 25:19-26.
These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son.
Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah as his wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Paddan Aram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
Now Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her, and she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.
Then the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples will be separated from your body; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”
Now when the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red all over, like a hairy garment, and they called his name Esau. After that, his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel, so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. M62
This is how Jacob got his name, by holding on and not letting go. For from the start Jacob wanted to be first and get the blessing and inheritance that comes with being the first child. Jacob wanted the birthright from his brother Esau, and we see that in Genesis 25:29-34.
Now Jacob cooked a stew, and Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. So Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me some of that red stew, for I am famished.” Therefore, his name was called Edom.
Then Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.”
Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; of what use is the birthright to me?”
Then Jacob said, “Swear to me this day.” So he swore to him, and he sold his birthright to Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew. Then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way.
Thus, Esau despised his birthright. M63
After Jacob had got Esau’s inheritance, his mother wanted him to have the blessing of Jacob’s father Isaac which was going to be in the presence of the Lord before his death. We see this event unfold in Genesis 27:1-30.
When Isaac was old, and his eyes were so weak that he could not see, he called Esau his oldest son and said to him, “My son.”
And he answered him, “Here I am.”
He said, “I am old. I do not know the day of my death. Therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me. And prepare for me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die.”
Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to Esau his son. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for wild game and bring it back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, saying, ‘Bring me wild game, and prepare for me savory food, that I may eat and bless you in the presence of the Lord before my death.’ Now therefore, my son, listen to me as I command you. Go now to the flock, and get me two choice young goats, so that I may prepare from them savory food for your father, such as he loves. Then you will take it to your father, so that he may eat and so that he may bless you before his death.”
But Jacob said to his mother Rebekah, “Look, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a man of smooth skin. Perhaps my father will feel me, and I will seem to him as a deceiver, and I will bring a curse on myself and not a blessing.”
His mother said to him, “Let your curse be upon me, my son. Only listen to me and go get them for me.”
He went and got them and brought them to his mother. Then his mother prepared savory food such as his father loved. Then Rebekah took the best clothes belonging to her older son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob, her younger son. Then she put the skins of the young goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. She put the savory food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hands of her son Jacob.
He came to his father and said, “My father.”
And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?”
And Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done just as you asked me. Please arise, sit and eat of my wild game, so that your soul may bless me.”
Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?”
And he said, “Because the Lord your God brought it to me.”
Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, so that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.”
Jacob went near to his father Isaac, and he felt him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” He did not recognize him because his hands were hairy, just like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him. He asked, “Are you really my son Esau?”
And he said, “I am.”
He said, “Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s wild game, so that my soul may bless you.”
And he brought it near to him, and he ate. He also brought him wine, and he drank. His father Isaac said to him, “Come near now and kiss me, my son.”
He came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his clothing and blessed him and said, “See, the smell of my son is like the smell of the field which the Lord has blessed.
Therefore, may God give you of the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and new wine.
Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you.
Be master over your brothers, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!”
As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had barely gone out from the presence of his father Isaac, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. M64
This was the blessing Jacob (Israel) received in the presence of the Lord. Therefore, anyone who curses Israel shall be cursed and anyone who blesses Israel will be blessed.
What many may not understand is the link between Israel the land, Israel the people, and the Lord God. But there is also another link that is often not spoken about, and this is the link Jesus the Lord God has with the two camps, the two houses. The house of Israel and the house of Judah that together form Israel.
First, let us look at the curse of the land from Jeremiah 23:10. For the land is full of adulterers; for the land mourns because of the curse. The pleasant places of the wilderness have dried up. And their course is evil, and their might is not right. M65
As the curse from the land of Israel lifts the pleasant places of the wilderness will be restored. In Amos 9:8-10 we see what Jesus the Lord God will do to Jacob, which is Israel.
The eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth, though I will not completely destroy the house of Jacob, says the Lord.
See, I am giving the command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all the nations, as one sifts with a sieve, and not a pebble falls to the ground.
All the sinners of My people will die by the sword, those who say, “Never will disaster reach or overtake us.” M66
The Lord God will remove some of the branches that make up the house of Jacob. Everything we read and learn is about separation, the separation of light from darkness.
We need to understand that Jesus was sent by God to the House of Israel as written in Matthew 15:26 when He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” M67
We see Jesus talking about this again in John 6:38-39 when He says:
For I came down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him, who sent Me. This is the will of the Father, who has sent Me, that of all whom He has given Me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. M68
Jesus was sent to the lost sheep which have been given to Him by the Father so that He can fulfill that which is written in Amos 9:11-15.
On that day will I raise up the hut of David that is fallen; I will close up its breached walls, raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the nations called by My name, says the Lord who will do this.
Indeed, the days are coming, says the Lord, when the plowman will overtake the one who is reaping, and the treader of grapes the one who is sowing the seed; the mountains will drip sweet wine, and all the hills will flow with it.
I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
I will plant them upon their land, and no more will they be uprooted out of their land which I have given them.
The Lord, your God, has spoken. M69
Although Jesus was sent by God to the lost sheep of Israel, God still loves everyone, and that is why Jesus said this in John 3:16-18.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. M70
Eternal life and salvation are for everyone, and salvation is in the Gospel.
In Matthew 24:3-14 as Jesus, sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus answered them, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled. For all these things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines, epidemics, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
“Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. And you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. Then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will rise and will deceive many. Because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. M71
What we will notice in the last sentence of what Jesus said is that the end will come after the gospel of the kingdom is preached throughout the world as a testimony to all nations. It is through the gospel that Jesus Christ, who abolished death; has brought life and immortality.
He also appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. We learn about this in 2 Timothy 1:3-11 from the letter Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, wrote to Timothy.
I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience as my forefathers did, as I continually remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, remembering your tears, that I may be filled with joy, remembering the genuine faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and that I am persuaded lives in you also.
Therefore, I remind you to stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control. So do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, His prisoner. But share in the sufferings of the gospel by the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not by our works, but by His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now revealed by the appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. M72
For Jesus desires that all be saved which includes the Gentiles and we see that spoken about by Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-7
Therefore, I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all. This was the testimony given at the proper time. For this, I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I speak the truth in Christ and do not lie), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. M73
The end of the heavens and the earth is more than a thousand years away. But that end is just the beginning.