[this article was contributed by Alex Rover]Jacob and Esau were twins born to Isaac, the son of Abraham. Isaac was the child of promise (Ga 4:28) through which God’s covenant would be passed down. Now Esau and Jacob struggled in the womb, but Jehovah told Rebecca the older would serve the younger (Ge 25:23). Esau came to be the firstborn and heir to the promise. Tragically, he despised his birthright (Ge 25:29-34) over some bread and lentil stew.
Thus Jacob became the child of promise, not the firstborn Esau. According to the flesh, neither are we, but as Paul wrote: Christians are ‘born according to the Spirit’ (Ga 4:29, 31).
“In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” – Ro 9:8 NIV
We can observe Paul here mentions but one inheritance. With a single inheritance, one stands to either gain or lose it: the inheritance of the firstborn.
Jacob valued his inheritance
Jacob was not the firstborn in physical sense, but he became the child of promise and heir to the covenant when Esau sold off his right. Much later, gentiles were called to become children of the promise. Just like Jacob, they had no physical birthright to claim an inheritance, but they were firstfruits in the spiritual sense.
The Jacob-like children of promise are those who have accepted “the word of truth”; “the gospel of their salvation”. Those who “hoped in Christ”, “the mediator of the new covenant” and thus ‘obtained an inheritance‘.
“Therefore he is the mediator of the new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” – He 9:15 ESV
“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you will also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” – Ep 1:11-13 ESV
The Scriptures call these people ‘Christianos’ – a Greek word derived from ‘christos’ or Christ, which means ‘anointed one’ (Ac 11:16, Ac 26:28, 1 Pe 4:16).
Once we obtain this promise, “let us continue to hold firmly to the hope that we confess without wavering” (He 10:23). This way we prove to be like Jacob, valuing our spiritual inheritance.
Esau set his heart to treasures on earth
Based on what we know about Esau, he had the prospect of inheritance, but valued that which was physical or earthly more than that which was spiritual. And eventually he surrendered his spiritual inheritance for what he valued more.
Jesus Christ had a few things to say about valuing the spiritual more than the physical:
“Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” – Mt 19:21 NKJV
“Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Mt 6: 19-21 NKJV
There was no middle ground for the young man. He needed to make a choice whether he valued the Spiritual over the Physical. The subsequent verse (Mt 19:22) made his choice clear and identified himself as one with Esau’s mentality, because he “left sorrowful” [i] – indicating that he valued the physical blessings over the spiritual.
The Watchtower Society Identifies an Esau Class
In 1935, J. F. Rutherford, president of Jehovah’s Witnesses gave the historic talk in which he declared “Behold! The Great Multitude!” referring to those who declared a preference to live forever on earth.
It recently came to my attention [ii] that The Watchtower Society likened the Great Crowd to the Prodigal Son. The WT of Nov 15, 1943 explains this group selfishly pursued their earthly privileges according to their will for a period after the Great Tribulation broke out after 1914.
Paragraph 25 plainly states that the Great Crowd wasted their inheritance:
By the Society’s own admission, the Great Crowd thus parallels an Esau Class. This is the class comprised of those who squandered their spiritual inheritance for a portion on earth. They traded their heavenly hope for the prospect of eternal earthly and material blessings.
A Collapsed House
Brothers and Sisters, EXAMINE THE FOUNDATION for an earthly hope: if Christ did not stop calling Christians in 1935, and if the Great Tribulation did not start in 1914 and it did not get interrupted in 1919, then why give up your inheritance now that the Watchtower admits that the Tribulation is a future event?
“Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell— and great was its fall.” – Mt 7:26-27 WEB
Rain has come down on the teachings that excluded millions from their hope and winds are blowing.
The building remained for a long time, even as its foundation gradually weakened. Even after realizing the great tribulation did not occur in 1914, The Watchtower study article of 2/15/89, “When the Lost Son is Found”, stubbornly continued to identify the older son as the anointed who did not welcome back their young brother of the earthly class, who had squandered the inheritance:
“But who in modern times do the two sons represent? […] The older son represents some members of the ‘little flock’ […] they had no desire to welcome an earthly class, ‘the other sheep’”.
As recently as 2013, the Watchtower Society admitted that cracks appeared in their house until the position was no longer tenable:
“For a number of years, we thought that the great tribulation began in 1914. [..] There would be a beginning (1914-1918), the tribulation would be interrupted (from 1918 onward), and it would conclude at Armageddon. […] “We also discerned that the first part of the great tribulation did not begin in 1914.” – w13 7/15 p.3-5
With the annual meeting of 2014 and the subsequent Watchtower of 15 March, 2015, the Society is further distancing themselves from antitypes like the Prodigal Son understanding. But a house with a broken foundation cannot be restored. It needs to be torn down and replaced:
“Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” – Mt 9:17
In effect, there is currently no doctrinal foundation left for the explanation of the Prodigal Son as it existed 70 years ago. Time has shown this to be a teaching that did not originate from Jehovah. The old wineskins have burst, and the wine is running out.
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you also were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” – Eph 4:4-6
With the same vigor we teach that there is but one God, let us also defend that there is but one hope to which we are called. Remain in this teaching and your house will be built on a rock.
Who are the Meek whom will inherit the Earth?
The meek will inherit the earth (Mt 5:5), but the poor would also inherit the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:3). Nobody can deny that while Jesus Christ inherits the earth, he is also described as ruling from heaven as its king. Likewise Christians do not deny the Scriptural guarantee of a new earth by striving toward the heavenly inheritance.
Additionally we know that in paradise earth, Christ’s bride will descend out of heaven toward earth. While we are not yet able to see how this will be fulfilled, Scripture states that God himself will be with mankind. Then who are we to say that a heavenly hope is not in harmony with a paradise earth?
“The holy city – the New Jerusalem – descending out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband.” – Re 21:2 NET
“Look! The residence of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them.” – Re 21:3 NET
By illustration: a prince is promised to inherit his Father’s kingdom. The prince promised himself to a humble Shulamite maiden: one day he would return for her hand in marriage and she would inherit the land if she proved righteous and meek. Finally he returns and brings her to his palace, for a splendid wedding, and now the prince is a king. They inherit the land as king and queen. The new king wants to be hands-on because he loves his subjects, and together with his queen he walks the lands and so all the people of his kingdom are blessed (Ge 22:17-18).
The inheritance is for the children of the promise, the Bride of Christ. They are the meek and are declared righteous by Christ’s blood. The earth will be their possession, and they will find their delight serving alongside Christ for the benefit of mankind.
The Father’s plan is indeed to restore what was lost – a paradise earth – and bless all humanity through it!
Do not be like Esau!
Let us no longer live for yourselves, but for Christ. This is what Christ’s love for us compels us to do: if we are in Christ, then we are part of a new creation (2 Co 5:15-17). We boldly reject Satan’s offer for earthly pleasure and treasure and instead look forward to our Lord’s return as our hope:
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” – Ti 2:11-14 NIV
Ever since Christ gave up his life for us in the greatest display of love, we belong to him and have the opportunity to be reconciled to our heavenly Father. The doors to this hope did not close in 1935, as the Governing Body has already admitted in the Question from Readers of WT 11/15 2007.
This door will remain open at least until the start of the Great Tribulation. Can you identify when is the acceptable time (Is 49:8)?
“And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain – for he says, ‘AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.’ Behold, now is ‘THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,’ behind, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION” – 2 Co 6:1-2
Will you receive God’s grace in vain? Scripture talks about a time when the faithful remnant will be gathered together from the four corners of the earth to meet their Lord the Christ in the clouds (Mark 13:27).
When that day comes, will you beat yourself in lamentation, realizing that you have squandered your inheritance to be with Christ? How would you feel if on that very day, you find yourself left behind?
“Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.” – Mt 24:40
Esau squandered his inheritance. Will you? We urge you to not to receive the grace of God in vain. Now is the acceptable time.
[i] We can also observe that Christ requested the young man to “follow him”. Interestingly, Revelation 14:4 describes the 144,000 as those “who follow the Lamb wherever he goes”. We can thus make a connection between the 144,000 and the Jacob Class.
[ii] Via an analysis on ad1914.com