One of the most neglected of scriptures along with its subsequent teaching is found in Romans 9:13 “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Here, Paul is referring to the prophecy of Malachi as Malachi is quoting the very words of GOD HIMSELF. “I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” (Mal 1:2-3)
The LORD does, here, plainly state that it is HIS own prerogative to love whom HE will and, conversely, to hate whom HE will. None can deny that HE has the right to bestow HIS love on whom HE will according to HIS own desire and purpose. There are usually many collective gasps that arise from the congregation of the religious, when such doctrine is set forth, yet this vital teaching cannot be neglected lest one should be guilty of misrepresenting the plain truth of GOD.
It is impossible to exactly define the moment when the LORD bestowed HIS love upon the people of HIS choice, but it is clear that HE describes HIS love for those who are hidden in CHRIST as being the recipients of an everlasting love. “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jer 31:3) Clearly HIS love for them is the very basis upon which all of the blessings which HE has seen fit to bestow upon them is based. HE does not love them because of their stature, what they have done, or would do, but HE has favored them because HE has loved them. (see Deut.7:7-8) While we cannot define the exact beginning of this love for this people which HE has hidden in HIS SON, the scripture plainly tells us that it was from before the foundation of the world. (see Prov.8:25; Mat.25:34; John 17:24; Eph.1:4; Rev. 13:8; 17:8)
If we fail to recognize this foundational truth then everything else we might try to understand about the LORD’s relationships with mankind in general will be skewed and we can have no true understanding of what it is that JESUS CHRIST came into the world to accomplish. Most of the error which surrounds man’s misunderstanding and subsequent false teaching, concerning the atonement of CHRIST, arises out of a failure to grasp the differentiation which the LORD makes between those who are the recipients of HIS love and those who are not.
Those who worship at the shrine of “man’s free will” despise the notion that GOD’s redemptive love is sovereignly dispensed and reject the notion that man cannot gain GOD’s favor by an action of that free will. Much gnashing of teeth is exhibited as they express their disdain for the plain truth of GOD and picture the LORD as ONE who can only cooperate with that which men would bring forth. How foolish and how unlike the revelation of HIM who said, “For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it. Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? “ (Isa 45:4-9) Does the purpose of GOD wait upon man for its fulfillment?
When the children of Israel, who had wandered in the wilderness for forty years were about to enter into the promised land the LORD made it very clear that not all of the land which they might traverse was designed for them to dwell in. Just as the LORD had designed a land for them to purposely inhabit and delight in, HE had also in HIS sovereign purpose given certain lands into the possession of others who were not the inheritors of HIS eternal blessings.
This is illustrated for us specifically with that people whose lineage could be traced back to Esau who was Jacob’s (Israel’s) first born, twin brother. Esau is representative (in the matter of redemption) of those who are not the elect of GOD. He despised his birthright, and ultimately was rejected by his father (Isaac) who bestowed his blessings upon Jacob.
Yet Esau is here also representative of that man of the flesh in contrast to Jacob who is representative of that man who is born again by the SPIRIT of CHRIST. There is a natural enmity of that which is “of the flesh” with that which is “of the SPIRIT”. Even as Paul declares; “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal 5:17)
Thus is described for us the internal conflict which is present within the man who is born again by the SPIRIT of GOD. He is a new creature which heretofore did not exist, and the LORD tells us that he is not “of” the world. “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:19) This is indicative of that external enmity which the world expresses against the sons of GOD but just as importantly that which manifests itself internally of which Paul speaks, “I find then a law, (i.e.; a working principle) that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. “ (Rom 7:21-23)
This “sinful flesh” in which we have sprung from Adam’s loins remains unchanged in the new birth, it is that “land” through which the children of GOD must now pass but are exhorted not to “meddle” with, which at one time they comfortably dwelt in and enjoyed. This is the “land” which is given to “Esau”, but is in no wise the “land” of promise nor the “mountain of the LORD’s house” but is Mount Seir the possession of Esau. Just as Esau fulfilled the purpose of GOD in the place of his habitation so too does this sinful flesh fulfill the purpose of GOD, even the trial of HIS sons..
Pilate asked the LORD if HE was the KING of the Jews. “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” (John 18:36) Paul describes this same concept when he said, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2Cor 10:3-5)
The “land” of promise is not ruled by a carnal commandment, “do this and live” but rather by the principle of expediency. (see I Cor 10:23) Religious men love carnal commandments and libertines love the lusts of the flesh, both of which principles abound in the land of Esau.. Yet the land of promise is ruled by the “law of the SPIRIT of LIFE in CHRIST JESUS” (see Rom 8:2) which delivers its inhabitants from the law of sin and death. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:11)mam