Did God pick Jacob for salvation before or after he was born?


In regards to your article "Predetermined Destiny":

First, after stating in paragraph five that God's selection of Jacob was made before Jacob was born, you turn right around and say that God's selection of Jacob was not made before he was born. Well, which is it? Did God pick Jacob before he was born, or after? Romans 9:11 clearly says "before." But you suggest that Malachi 1:2-3 says "after." And you argue this on the basis that Malachi 1 was written long after Jacob and Esau had died. But this causes all kinds of problems. Based on that logic, we would have to conclude that since Ephesians 1:4 was written long after the foundation of the world, that must mean that we were NOT chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, but rather, during the first century when Paul wrote Ephesians. But that just doesn't work. The Bible can't be read that way. No matter how you define "chosen us in him," the Bible very clearly says it happened before the foundation of the world, regardless of when people wrote letters talking about it. Or what about John 1? Was Christ actually at the beginning with God? Or do we rather say that He really was not since John 1 was written long after "the beginning" was over? Nope, that doesn't fly. Furthermore, Malachi 1 was written to a bunch of people whose sacrifices God would not accept (read the whole chapter). If God didn't "love Jacob" until the writing of Malachi 1, then that means God chose to love a bunch of sinners in their sin (Israelites) and chose to hate a bunch of other sinners (Edomites) in their sin.

In the next paragraph is this statement: "Jacob served God throughout his life, so God loved Jacob. However, Esau rejected God, so God hated Esau." Now, wait a minute. Just one paragraph ago, you said (I quote again): "God's purpose [in choosing Jacob over Esau] is accomplished not by the righteousness of man but through God's own will." And going back one more paragraph, you said Isaac was not chosen because of his specialness, but rather because of God's promise made before Isaac's birth. So which is it? Were these men elected because of their righteousness, or not? After they were born, or before? According to God's will, or according to man's will? I think Roman's 9 spells it out pretty clearly; for that matter.

Oh, yeah -- one more thing about the "sinful Esau / righteous Jacob" theory. How did Esau sin, exactly? I mean, what was the unconscionable act committed by Esau that disqualified him from the election spoken of in Romans 9:12-13? Well, you can point to the fact that he sold his birthright to his brother for a bowl of soup. That was bad. But wait -- what about Jacob? Jacob was the guy that bamboozled his brother out of the birthright by withholding the soup! Jacob was also the guy that conspired with his mother to dress up like Esau and go lie to his dad and steal his brother's blessing! So, we got theft, deceit, premeditation to do same, and extortion. And the boy hasn't even left home yet. Yeah, I can totally see how Jacob was elected by God because he was so righteous.


[The above was extracted from a much longer review of my article posted at http://pleonast.com/user/longshot?sc=all&&l=1&o=0 . The author of the review and I have agreed to post our discussions on both sites after the following was sent to him. Since I only addressed one of a number of points that he raised, the above are just the paragraphs which I addressed, slightly edited from the third person of the review to the second person for this posting.]

I must say it is amusing to see my words being misquoted. A part of the problem appears that you did the very thing you accused me of doing, reading the statements using a traditional Calvinist's interpretation. It was good, though, to see that some of it did get you to think.

You spent a good bit of time railing about Jacob and Esau, so let me put this in plainer terms, if possible. "And the LORD said to her: "Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older shall serve the younger"" (Genesis 25:23). Where does it say that Jacob would be saved and Esau lost? You see, in your preconceived view, you immediately assumed that because Jacob's descendants would be stronger and that Esau and his descendants would serve Jacob and his descendants that this somehow equates to Jacob being saved and Esau wasn't. In other words, you are reading into the verse more than was stated.

Jacob could have chosen to be a wicked man, and he did do some evil things during his life, but it would not have changed that he and his descendants would be stronger than Esau and his descendants. Esau could have chosen to be a godly man, and he did do some godly things during his life, but it would not change that he and his descendants would serve Jacob and his descendants.

During their lives, Jacob chose to follow God for the most part and Esau chose to rail against God for the most part. Their descendants roughly followed the same pattern. As a result, over a thousand years later, God stated: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." God's relationship with these men and their descendants came about by their personal choices of whether to draw near to God or not. They both knew what God required of them, but they chose different paths.

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).

"And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15).

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" (Matthew 23:37).

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