Isaac inherited Abraham's position as central figure because although Isaac was a young boy he was old enough to know he was giving his life and did so without hesitation. By being one with Abraham and offering himself as a sacrifice he successfully became a central figure and fulfilled the foundation of vertical love. Isaac's two sons, Esau and Jacob, were placed in the positions of Cain and Abel. Esau was in the position of Cain (or Lucifer) and Jacob was in the position of Abel (or Adam). Esau was the eldest son like Cain and represented evil and Jacob was the second son, like Abel, who represented good. We read that Esau and Jacob fought, even in their mother's womb (Gen. 25:22-23) and that God "loved" Jacob and "hated" Esau because God must hate evil and love good. God loves Esau, but he hates the evil that Esau represents.

In restoring the past during God's Providence of Restoration not only must those in the Cain position do right but those in the Abel position must make conditions to show they are worthy of being God's champion. Jacob had to show his worthiness for being in the Abel position. In the Garden of Eden Lucifer stole the birthright from Adam. So to restore this loss, Jacob, in the position of Adam stole the birthright from Esau who represented Lucifer. Jacob and Esau had such different personalities and interests that they had almost nothing to do with each other for many years. Let's use the number 40 to represent their separation. But at the end of this time the division between them became complete when Jacob stole Esau's blessing by pretending to be Esau before his father Isaac.

God does not condone stealing but in this case God did because it represents restoration of the birthright to Adam. When Esau discovered how his brother had tricked him, he was furious. He was going to kill Jacob, but Jacob heard this and fled to Haran and stayed with his Uncle Laban.

Laban was cruel and cheated Jacob many times. But after 20 years of suffering Jacob successfully earned great wealth and in the 21st year started his return to his homeland. Jacob was acting selflessly. He was thinking in terms of the public benefit. He could have selfishly gone off alone with his family to enjoy his wealth that he had earned after so many years of drudgery. But his mind was so occupied with God's will that he wanted to restore his relationship with his brother Esau. Jacob was willing to sacrifice everything he had.

When he and his family were leaving Haran, Rachel, Jacob's wife, stole Laban's idols. Laban pursued them, found Jacob and said, "You have stolen my idols. I want them back." Jacob, knowing nothing, got angry and said he didn't have them but Laban could look for them. When Laban went into Rachel's tent, we read, "Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel's saddle, and sat upon them. Laban felt all about the tent, but did not find them. And she said to her father, 'Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the way of women is upon me.' So he searched, but did not find the household gods" (Gen: 31:34-35). Laban finally gave up and returned home. Lucifer had deceived Eve. Now Eve, represented by Rachel, stole from Lucifer.

As Jacob bravely made his way back to his home Esau heard of his coming and he felt, like Cain, a great resentment to his brother and led an army of four hundred men to kill Jacob. When Jacob heard this news he prayed to God and then thought, 'I may appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterwards I shall see his face; perhaps he will accept me'" (Gen. 32:20). With a pure heart he sent ahead of him as a gift for Esau his five hundred livestock that he had earned for his hard labor in Haran. And when Jacob saw Esau he went to him and we read, "bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept" (Gen. 33::2-4). Esau had been melted by Jacob's total generosity, sincerity and courage. Human history entered a new era. It was elevated to a higher dimension at this time.

Man's portion of responsibility throughout human history has been to subjugate Satan. Sin is having a give and take relationship with Satan. The kingdom of heaven will come when every human being frees himself from his influence.

Jacob was the first champion in history to subjugate Satan enough to lay a foundation for the messiah to come.

Many people have a hard time with Jacob. He is always criticized for being cunning and stealing, but Jacob was loved by God because he did the right things. His life is the model course that shows us the way to win over Satan.

The Fall placed angels -- both the good and evil ones -- above mankind. The Fall caused people to fall to the very bottom of the universe. Even the creation has become higher than mankind.

To restore ourselves we must stop angels from dominating us and then dominate them. Jacob pioneered this. The night before Jacob was to see Esau we read that he sent his family "across the stream" of Jabbok. "And Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched the hollow of his thigh (symbolizing the lower parts); and Jacob's thigh was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, 'Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed'" (Gen. 32: 24-28). Then as "The sun rose upon him" Jacob went "limping because of his thigh...And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him."

The "man" who fought Jacob was an angel sent by God. Jacob pioneered the way of strength and perseverance and love that we must have to lay a foundation for the messiah. The name Israel means "victor." Jacob was victorious.

The Messiah could not come at this time though because even though Jacob had laid a foundation for the Messiah at the family level there were nations surrounding Jacob who would kill the Messiah if he came. Because mankind had grown and become divided into power units of nations God had to build a nation too. So God concentrated His efforts to build a nation. So God concentrated His efforts to build the Israelites into a nation that would protect the Messiah. God had to prolong His dispensation from the family level to the national level. As history goes on it becomes more and more difficult for God to restore the world. As mankind increases in population, evil increases.

We will next study the 2000 year history of the Israelites -- the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There are other histories of other peoples during this time but the history of the small group of Jewish people is the central history that God was working through. God was working with other people and hearing their prayers and being with them throughout the world, but God was working with Israel as the Adam nation for world restoration.

We read in Genesis that Jacob became the father of Joseph when he returned to his home. Joseph was 30 years old when he was given power in Egypt. Then there was seven plentiful years he had predicted. This would make him 37 years old. Then the Bible says that sometime after that he met his Father who came to Egypt because of the famine that occured seven years after the seven plentiful years. Therefore there is approximately forty years between the time Jacob returned home and when he went to Egypt with his family. This 40-year time period is called the "Preparation for Egypt."

For the next 2000 years the Bible records how God worked to build the Israelites to be His chosen nation. It is important to learn here that God and Satan work through nations.

Also it is important to see that although the pattern of Cain and Abel is working in the world, the individual circumstances change. Abraham was not required to build an Ark like Noah, and Jacob did not have to offer animal sacrifices like Abraham. Central figures throughout history do not do exactly the same things anymore than they dress alike, but their actions do follow a similar pattern. The stories in the Bible are different because they deal with different people at different times in history but the pattern of their behavior is the same. The world is a battle ground between Cain and Abel all the way from individuals to nations.

Those individuals, families, religions and nations that are in the Abel position must, like Jacob, be sacrificial and giving without complaint. And those in the Cain position must be won over by Abel's generosity and sincerity and strength of faith in God's will.

We have learned that God worked in 6 periods of time from Adam to Jacob. First, there was the 1600 years from Adam to Noah; second, the 400 years from Noah to Abraham. Third, the 120 year period of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Fourth, the approximately 40 years when Jacob and Esau divided. Fifth, the 21 year exile of Jacob and his return to his home, and Sixth, the 40 year time period before he and his family went to Egypt.

Jacob's descendants were the Israelites and the Old Testament tells of their 2000 year history. We will see that these 2000 years resemble the six time periods of the previous 2000 years.