Isaiah 6:1-8 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!" 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged." 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."

A few weeks ago, we had a lesson on "Worship", both private and public. In that lesson, we saw that no real worship takes place unless it produces a change in the life to be more like the one we are worshiping. There are many areas of our lives in which true worship will produce change. Today, I would like to introduce one of those areas.


Worship and service are vital parts of God’s total program called redemption.

In this lesson, I want to lay a little "ground work" for the next lessons. I also want to look at another problem passage, today. This "ground work" is not just busywork, but vital information to aid in our understanding of Biblical service.

Biblical Examples

In this study of "service", we will look at to two Biblical characters who were servants of God, doing His service. From their lives, we can draw many lessons to help in our service to God through the church.

What Bible character do you think you identify with more than any other? Many of us would like to resemble people like:

However, if we are to be perfectly honest, most of us are probably more like the characters found in some of Jesus’ parables or miracles, especially:

Let’s go to the book of Hebrews, and there give attention to great men and women of faith. As we read about these "faith greats", we will probably find that we really don’t "compare" to them at all. Instead, even a quick glance at the account of Hebrews 11 reveals that we are very inferior to such men and women of faith.

In the first 31 verses of Hebrews 11, the Holy Spirit mentions a number of the men and women of faith who lived in the "hall way of time". The Holy Spirit mentions such faithful ones as: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab and even Esau is mentioned in passing.

Jacob and Esau

The mention of Esau in this passage calls our attention to a very important fact and the problem passage I would like to examine. After we examine briefly this problem passage, we will direct our attention back to the "faithful ones" of Hebrews 11, in our next lessons.

This problem area does not seem to have a direct impact on the subject of service, but it does affect service in the long run. This passage also has a great impact on our understanding of God’s plan for time and eternity.

A Problem

This "problem area" is of little significant of itself, but it spawns inaccurate doctrines and pushes out of alignment many other doctrines. The sad thing is that some of those, who are promoting this inaccurate doctrine, are good sincere people. However, simply being good and sincere does not exempt a person from comparing all Scripture with itself and making sure that all aspects are in perfect harmony.

Some folks are stumped by the portion of scritpure in Romans 9:13 that says, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated", a reference taken from Malachi 1:1-3. Some misguided teachers and some who have not done their "homework" say this proves that Jacob was predestined, by God, to heaven and Esau was predestined, by God, to hell, even before they were born.

I’m sorry, but either these promoters of such a conclusion have not properly studied the Bible carefully or they don’t care what the Bible says, because this is not true!!!!

First of all, this passage, here or in it original setting, does not have any reference to Salvation, the New Birth, Heaven or Hell.

If there were no other passages, this one passage goes a long way to dispel the false doctrine that Jacob was predetermined, by God, to go to heaven and Esau was predetermined, by God, to go to hell.

Hebrews 11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

Laying out the facts

Please note that both Jacob and Esau received a blessing concerning things to come. This "blessing" is not a reference to the eternal future, but instead has to do with "things to come" during time. Look back at the Holy Spirit’s personal account of the matter in…

Genesis 25:21-24 Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If all is well, why am I this way?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 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." 24 So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb.

This account by the Holy Spirit speaks of...

Nothing mentioned or even inferred about the Spiritual quality or the eternal destiny of either.

Please note the circumstances and God’s personal explanation of what was happening and what would happen. Rebekah went to the Lord for an answer as to why these two unborns were "struggling" within her. Look carefully at God’s explanation and don’t confuse what God said with what some theologians have said!

God said within Rebekah’s womb there were:

God is not ignorant of the "facts of life"! He knew that what was in the womb were two individual humans. However, God’s answer projects the future earthly destiny of the descendants of Jacob and Esau. God’s reference was not directed only toward the two individuals in the womb, but also beyond the two, to the decedents of these two nations and peoples.

The descendants of these two will multiply until two large and unique nations will form. These nations and peoples have to do with time and events here on the earth. There is no mention of the spiritual quality of these or their eternal destiny. The two factors of eternal destiny and Spiritual quality have been added by humans in an effort to support a theory, which is not supported by this account or any other Scripture.

God does say:

There is no mention of spiritual qualities or eternal destinies, nor does the story allow the projection of those things into the account. We will look at the portion of Scripture, in Romans 9, that is a quote from the passage in Genesis 25, but first, look at another Old Testament reference that is also quoted in the Romans 9.

Many well meaning people have confused the passage in Genesis 25 and a passage in Malachi 1 as one quote and in the thinking of some, these two events happened at the same time, under the same circumstances.

Malachi 1:1-3 The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. 2 "I have loved you," says the LORD. "Yet you say, 'In what way have You loved us?' "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" says the LORD. "Yet Jacob I have loved; 3 but Esau I have hated, and laid waste his mountains and his heritage for the jackals of the wilderness."

Once again, there is no mention of the eternal qualities or eternal destiny of either of these. Also, note that this passage in Malachi concerning loving and hating is not a reference to the birth, death or eternal destiny of Jacob and/or Esau. Nor is it a reference to an act of loving or hating before time began or even before Jacob and Esau were born.

The Nations not the Individuals

The expression of "Jacob I loved and Esau I hated" was not used in reference to their birth, life or death. As a mater of fact, this expression was never used concerning nor applied to these two individuals, personally.

Instead, it is a reference to the two nations that formed from the descendants of Jacob and Esau and refers to what was happening somewhere about 450 B.C., not some 1400 years earlier at the birth and/or death of the persons of Jacob and Esau.

This and a couple of other phrases have caused the Christian world no end of division and has brought about a hindrance of God's work.

I should rephrase that statement. It is not the "phrase" that has caused the problem, it is the theologians or teachers that have caused the problem, because they have not done their homework. It is important that we see the context in which this statement was made, and to what or whom the statement applies. That sounds like what any good theologian would do. Right?

Malachi is considered to be the last of the Hebrew prophets. At least his writings make up the last book of the English Old Testament. However, the birth of Jacob and Esau was recorded in the first book of the Old Testament. Their birth took place well over 1,400 years before this statement was ever uttered.

These prophecies were not directed to Jacob and Esau as individuals, they were dead and gone long before the statement was made. The prophecies were directed to Jews as a nation, directing them to repent and obey, along with a stern warning of judgment for disobedience and rebellion.

Based on internal evidence, the book of Malachi is clearly post-Exilic, possibly between the coming of Ezra (457 B.C.) and before the second visit of Nehemiah (432 B.C.). The Jews were under a Persian governor. and the temple had been rebuilt and Levitical worship restored.

However, the moral and religious offenses of the people were great and were condemned by Malachi, as well as repentance and reformation urged. Malachi’s message, as the messages of most prophets, was that God loves you, but He is also a God of justice. Therefore, repent and experience the blessings of God’s love, or continue in sin and experience the consequence of God’s justice. It is called a choice.

However, the people said (in my words) something like..

"Here we are dominated by a Persian king. We don’t have our own sovereign rule as a nation, as God promised we would. Therefore, Malachi, how can you say that God loves us? Go ahead, Malachi, show us in what way God has loved us?"

Folks, it is important to see what God said and the context in which it was said, if we are truly interested in knowing the truth of Scripture. If you really want to know what the Scriptures teach, you must give careful attention to what the Scriptures say, not what some human says they think the scriptures say!

Notice these verses are a conversation of the people with the Lord. It is not totally clear whether Malachi 1:2-3 is a direct conversation of the people and the Lord, or if it was a conversation between the people and Lord through the mouthpiece Malachi. Later in the book, it is clear that on God's behalf, Malachi does the talking to the people and I assume that is true in this passage. Whichever it might be, the truth of the passage will be the same.

Remember, the quote in Romans 9:13 was taken from Malachi 1:2. It's important to know the reference in the original passage. The Lord said to the Jews (as a nation 1,400 years after the birth of Jacob and Esau) "I have and I do love you!" The Jews (as a nation) responded to God, "OK, then show some evidence that you love us."

The Lord said, "Even though you are under a foreign power, I have allowed you to rebuild the temple, and a lot more, and you are going to, once again, possess your inheritance. These are pretty good evidences of my love for you. Especially when you compare what I have done to your ‘twin nation’, the Edomites, who came through Esau."

The Lord continues, "Look at Esau (or Edom) your "twin nation", I have laid his kingdom (mountain) waste and his inheritance is going to the wild animals of the wilderness."

Even though the names of Jacob and Esau are used, those names are not used in the sense of a personal reference. The terms Jacob and Esau are used to indicate the nations that came from their descendants. Remember, both Jacob and Esau have been dead for well over a thousand years.

Please note! The Jews (as a nation) had asked the Lord a question, and the Lord answered that question. The question was "In what way have you loved us (as a nation--NOT as a person)". The man Jacob never asked this question. The nation from Jacob’s descendants asked the question, some 1400+/- years after his birth and death.

Folks, the Lord answered that question by contrasting what He had done for the Jews, the nation that came from Jacob, with what He was doing to the Edomites, the nation that came from Esau.

Nowhere in this whole passage does the Holy Spirit even hint to the fact that the forefathers of either of these nations had been predetermined to heaven or hell, or that the descendants of either Jacob or Esau were predetermined to heaven or hell. To impose that theory upon this exchange between the Lord and the Jews would be the height of poor, or even improper exegesis.

Remember this statement is made some 1400 years after the birth and death of the of the twins, Jacob and Esau.

The demonstration of the Lord’s love for Jacob (the Jewish Nation) was that they were back in the Land, the Temple had been rebuilt, Worship was restored and the promise of possessing the full inheritance when they repent.

The demonstration of the Lord’s hatred or a lesser degree of love or vengeance for Esau, the Edomite Nation is that the nation was wasted and their inheritance was also wasted.

Never once, in this passage is the love or hatred of God associated with eternal rewards or a predetermination to heaven or hell. In the passage of Romans 9:12-13, there are two separate statements or quotes from the Old Testament separated by over 1400 years.

The first quote in Romans 9:12 is directly associated with the individuals Jacob and Esau while still in the womb and is also a projection of the earthly future of their descendants.

The second quote in Romans 9:13 is associated with the nations that came from Jacob and Esau and has no direct application to the individuals of Jacob and Esau, who at the time of the quote have been dead for over 1400 years.

In all of these matters, it is vital that we become students of the Word of God, not the writings of men, including my writings.

Genesis 25:22-24 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If all is well, why am I this way?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 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." 24 So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb.

The account in Malachi refers back to the promise made by God before the birth of Jacob and Esau and to the nations that would come from them, not the individual men themselves. Lest you forget, Jacob & Esau had been dead for about 1400 years.

Both of these passages are made reference to in Romans 9, so it is important that we understand the differences in these two references. In Genesis 25, it is a direct reference to the individuals of Jacob and Esau before they were born and that their descendants would become different nations. No mention of eternal destiny or even spiritual quality. In Malachi, the reference is to the descendants of these two, some 1400 years later and has no direct relationship to the individuals.

It is so important to overall Biblical understanding to see that these two sons of Isaac did not form one nation through which the Messiah would come to earth. The promise of the "Seed of the Woman" (Genesis 3) must come through the unique nation formed only from the descendants of Jacob. Different than the two sons of Isaac, the 12 sons of Jacob did form one nation through which the "Seed of the Woman"—the Messiah—Christ came.

We want to look at the contested passage in Romans 9:12-13, but before we look at the verses themselves, remember that verses 12 & 13 have a context. Time will not allow us to look at the full context, but we have already looked at the greater context as its was originally given in Genesis and in Malachi. Now, let’s look at a little of the immediately context right before this passage.

Romans 9:6-9 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise: "At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son."

The Holy Spirit through Paul is showing that God has a plan and He is capable of carrying out that plan. This plan of God, as we have seen in the "Walk-Through", is vast and very complex.

To boil that plan down to its essence would be that the "Seed of the Woman" promised to the first parents, Adam and Eve in the Garden, would come and bring redemption to the world, making it possible for humans to enter into a relationship with God, a relationship lost by the sin of Adam (Genesis 3).

The next clear revelation concerning this plan was given to Abraham (Genesis 12:1). To Abraham, God revealed that through Abraham’s descendants would come this "Seed of the Woman" (Christ—the Sent One—Messiah).

However, not just any of the descendants of Abraham would be in this line of progression. Only the descendants of Abraham through Isaac’s descendants would be part of this special line through which the Messiah—the Seed of the Woman—Christ would come.

Salvation is Available to All

Nowhere in the Bible, neither here or any other place, is it even hinted that only those that come through the particular blood line of Isaac could have a relationship with God through redemption!

It’s a good thing that others, besides those in the direct line of Isaac, could have redemption and salvation. If to be saved, a person had to be direct descendant of Isaac, then most of us would be out in the "cold", or maybe I should say out in the heat, because then we'd all end up burning in the Lake of Fire.

There is much in this passage of Romans 9:6-9, but for this lesson and for the sake of time, we need only to see this fact. Not all the descendants of Abraham will be in the "line" through which the Messiah—the "Seed of the Woman"—would come.

There is not even a hint of an idea that Isaac was predetermined to "heaven" and all the other descendants of Abraham were predetermined to "hell". The promise was not that all the descendants of Isaac would be "saved", But only those in the direct descendancy of Isaac would be a part of this "special nation", through which the promised Messiah would come.

It is a clear and simple statement that only those descendants through the line of Isaac would be participants in this family line to bring God to the earth as the Redeemer, in the form of human flesh.

It didn’t say all of Isaac’s descendants would be spiritual giants or that all would spend eternity with God. But only the descendants of Isaac (through Jacob) would make-up the family line through which the Messiah would come.

Romans 9:6-13 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise: "At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son."
10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." 13 As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."

Romans 9:6-9 established that only those in the direct line through Isaac would participate in bringing, to this earth, the Messiah in human form. Then we come to Romans 9:10

"And not only this"

Using even the most simple rudimentary principles of Biblical exegesis, this tells us that what follows is connected to and similar in fact to what proceeded. If what proceeded deals with the particular lineage through which the Messiah would come, then what follows will also be speaking of a similar thing and is connected to that fact. By looking at the origin of Romans 9:12-13, we saw that neither of these references dealt with eternal destiny and they were separated by 1400 years. The first reference was directed to Jacob & Esau as individuals by whom different nations and people would come through their descendants and spoke nothing about eternal life. The second reference was directed to the descendant nations of Jacob and Esau and not to the individuals Jacob and Esau.

We could have looked at many other details in this matter, but we have presented enough facts to allow you to make an informed choice. You can choose to ignore the facts, or you can choose to take those facts and harmonize them with the rest of Scripture.

However, it is clear that this passage is not teaching that some are predetermined by God to heaven and some to hell. If that theory were true (but it is not), it is for certain, that this passage of Romans 9:12-13 does not teach or support such a theory.

Therefore, I have good news for you!! If you have not accepted Christ as your Savior, you don't have to figure out if you have been predestined. All you have to do is receive Christ as your Savior and you will be on you way to spending eternity with God!

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name:
John 3:18 "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.
John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2005