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Who Was Jacob Wrestling in Genesis 32?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
May 28, 2021 6:30 am

Who Was Jacob Wrestling in Genesis 32?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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May 28, 2021 6:30 am

Episode 716 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

 

1. What is theological liberalism?

2. Is God’s love conditional in some way?

3. How are those with mental illness judged?

4. Why is Bartimaeus, the blind man the Jesus heals, named in the Gospels and other people Jesus healed not named? Is there some special about Bartimaeus?

5. In Genesis 32 it says that Jacob was wrestling with God and saw his face, but in John chapter 1 it says no one has seen the face of God but Jesus. How do you make sense of that?

6. Why isn’t David’s practice of polygamy condemned in the Bible?

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John says that no one has seen the face of God, but in Genesis 32, Jacob sees God's face.

Isn't that a biblical contradiction? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. Hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

As we head into this Memorial Day weekend, we want to just say we are so glad that you've joined us. Call us with your question about the Bible and the Christian life every day. And here is the phone number to call right now for the next 25 minutes or so. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. And you can email us with your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Nathan in Tacoma, Washington. Nathan, welcome to the program.

Hey, thanks, guys. So the question I have is, what is the definition of liberalism in a Christian context? I've heard the term used many times about liberal Protestants or liberal scholars, but I just wanted to expand what that really meant.

Yeah, it's a great question. And I think sometimes the way in which people throw that word around today is unhelpful. I mean, historically, when you're talking about things like Protestant liberalism, it was a movement, 19th, 20th century, and it was essentially a group of people that were, in some ways, you know, they thought that what they were trying to do was protect Christianity and safeguard the essence of Christianity, you know, with the modern man. How can we make Christianity appeal to the modern man? Well, we don't believe in miracles anymore and those kinds of things. So we need to set that aside, the miracles, the resurrection of the dead. We need to focus on what Christianity really is at its heart.

And it really has to do with loving one another, you know, the universal brotherhood of mankind, the fatherhood of God, that kind of thing. And so historically, Protestant liberalism, a lot of what happened there was denying the miraculous. And essentially, when you deny the miraculous, you deny the gospel because, you know, the linchpin of the gospel is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If Jesus didn't actually rise from the dead, we're still in our sins, Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. And so typically, if we're talking about it, you know, from that perspective, that's what we're referring to when we talk about Protestant liberalism. And the sad reality is that has crept into a lot of churches, a lot of mainline churches that have begun to deny the authority of Scripture. Same with, you know, things like the virgin birth, the resurrection of Jesus, you know, this idea that Jesus just rose again in our hearts, that this is just sort of a spiritual story and we're meant to, you know, maybe take away some moral applications, that kind of a thing. No. The essence of Christianity, the kernel of the Christian faith is the gospel.

It's that God sent his eternal son into the world to live, to die for us, for our sins, and then to rise again physically bodily from the dead for our justification for the hope of eternal life that we have. And so really, you know, Protestant liberalism struck at the vitals of what the Christian faith was in so far as it denied that very gospel. Now, is that what you were thinking about?

Were you thinking about something different, Nathan, in terms of that question? No, that's part of it. The other part was I just maybe thought of it as moving away from orthodoxy. I've heard the term used plenty of times, but it seems like people use it in different contexts. You know, but yeah, I mean, that makes sense.

Yeah. I mean, one of the things that I hear a lot of today is people will say things like, you know, churches that focus a lot on social issues, social justice, that kind of a thing. This is Protestant liberalism. And that's not necessarily the case.

I mean, it can be. The question is, what is the gospel? Are we saying our works, what we do is the gospel, which is essentially what Protestant liberalism was doing is they were focusing on the great commandment, if you will. They needed to love each other, but they were denying the gospel, the resurrection of Jesus. We embrace the gospel, that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, that that's the hope for us, for the entire world.

And then there are implications to that, right? We're called to love one another. We're called to love our neighbors.

And so you have both. You know, you have the gospel and you have the gospel's implications. And as churches, we should pursue that. Now, I've seen churches and heard of churches that have fallen for the trap of this Protestant liberalism, and it's absolutely heartbreaking. And one of the things you see statistically is these same churches are slowly dwindling because when you're no longer preaching the gospel, when you're not giving people the message of eternal salvation, the Spirit of God isn't working there anymore. I mean, the Spirit works through the preached word, through the faithful preaching of the word of God. And if we're not doing that, if we're not proclaiming the gospel, well, it doesn't matter how pretty our church building is, you know, how dressed up we get, that kind of a thing. It's dead if there's no gospel. And so it is really an important question.

I'm glad you asked it, Nathan, and thanks for giving us a call, brother. You know, the other thing that's concerning about Protestant liberalism is often the denial of the sin nature. And so people will say they'll kind of psychologize sin away.

Well, you had bad experiences, so you just need to get, you know, your act together. And rather than saying, as Jeremiah so clearly says, the heart is desperately wicked, who can know it? Yeah, I know you're absolutely right. I mean, those things oftentimes will go hand in hand, this sort of minimizing of sin and of our need of the cross, our need for the gospel, because if sin isn't an issue, well, then we can just sort of pull ourselves up by the bootstraps. And that's what the Christian life is all about, helping one another, loving one another, that kind of a thing. No, that's not the gospel. That's not what the Bible teaches. We are called to love one another as an implication of the gospel.

But if you do away with sin, you do away with the atoning work of Jesus Christ, the miraculous resurrection from the dead, you no longer have Christianity. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you are welcome to call right now.

Our phone lines will be open for the next 17 minutes or so. Here's the number to call. 833-THE-CORE. 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Elias in Hampstead, New York. Hi, Elias. What's your question for Pastor Adrian? I'm very grateful to both of you, Dr. Bill Meyer and Pastor Adrian Sanchez. Thank you very much. I have two related questions.

One is a little background. In the Old Testament, God says, it says, I change not sayeth the Lord. God says, if you obey my commandments, I will bless you. If you don't obey my commandments, I will curse you. In the New Testament, Jesus says, I've been told that for the born again believers in Christ, God will never love us more or less than he loves us now. Is God's love conditional or unconditional? And the second question is, does God give the mentally ill, like with schizophrenia, is he more liberal with his judgment on the mentally ill than he is for the people without mental illness? Thank you very much, brothers.

I love you forever. Amen. Hey, Brother Elias, always good to hear from you, and two very good questions. One, is God's love conditional or unconditional for his people? And two, in terms of the judgment, how does God deal with people who have mental handicaps and that kind of thing? As you were asking your question, and you mentioned the Old Testament, the first passage that my mind went to was Deuteronomy 7, where God is speaking to his people. And this is what Moses says, Deuteronomy 7, beginning in verse 6, for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you are the fewest of all peoples. But it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers. The Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery.

Now, right there, it's very clear, right? Moses is saying, look, God didn't love you because you were special, because you were more in number than the other nations. God set his particular love on Israel, on his covenant people, as he called them out of Egypt, as he redeemed them. He's saying, look, it wasn't because you were holier, it wasn't because you were more righteous, it wasn't because you were stronger than the nations of the world. No, this is just God's goodness.

He loved you because it was in line with his promise. And you see this same thing also, this same idea in the New Testament. I think about what the Apostle Paul said in the book of Ephesians, really one of my favorite passages in scripture, in Ephesians chapter 2. Listen to what the Apostle Paul says, you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. You see, right there, I mean, those are two beautiful passages of scripture, Deuteronomy chapter 7, Ephesians chapter 2, and it's emphasizing the unconditional nature of God's love. It wasn't because you were greater or more righteous, it wasn't because you were holy. I mean, right there in Ephesians chapter 2, you were dead in trespasses and sins. And so when we talk about God's love for his people, we say that this is an unconditional love. Now, that doesn't mean, brother, that our sins don't grieve the spirit of God, as scripture says. I think we have to realize, I mean, we can do things that displease the Lord, but does that mean that God removes his covenant faithfulness from his people, his love from his people?

No. No, we have that promise in Hebrews chapter 13. He says, I'm never going to leave you or forsake you. And so, really, such a wonderful promise that we have from the Lord. And then with regard to your second question, really a separate question there, you know, what if God, how does God deal with people who have mental handicaps or mental illness in terms of the judgment? Well, you know, we're not given, I think, a very clear answer to that specifically in scripture, but we do know that God is good and that God is just. And there are a number of occasions, especially in the New Testament, where it seems like people are judged more severely on the basis of what they know or should know. And so I certainly believe that God is merciful, that God on the day of judgment, nobody's going to say, man, that's not fair, Lord. God is perfectly holy and perfectly just.

And so how God is going to deal with this question in particular, I'm not sure, but I know that you can trust him and I know that you can trust him and that God is good. And so thank you for giving us a call and I pray that the Lord blesses you. Thank you for listening.

Thanks so much, Elias. We appreciate you being one of our regular listeners here at CORE Christianity. Our number to call if you have a question for Pastor Adriel, 833-THE-CORE, that's 1-833-843-2673. You can also leave a voicemail at that number anytime, 24 hours a day. And we should mention that some radio stations actually air this program at a later time. So if you're not hearing this program live, then here's the time to call and get to Adriel in the studio. It's 11 30 a.m. Pacific, 12 30 Mountain, 1 30 Central or 2 30 Eastern Time. That's when we're picking up the phone call.

So if you hear the program at a different time, leave a voicemail or call us during that 30 minute period. Let's go to Brian in Waterloo, Indiana. Brian, welcome to the program. Yeah. How are you doing? Good. Doing well. How are you doing?

I'm doing fine. My question for today is the blind beggar named Bartimaeus. He was just one of the several people that Jesus healed in his ministry. I was just curious, you know, very few people are mentioned by name.

Is there anything significant about Bartimaeus? Yeah, that's that's a great question. I mean, why why is it that oftentimes when Jesus healed someone, you don't have their name mentioned?

And then sometimes you do like like on this occasion. And I do think that there are at times things that the gospel writers are trying to communicate. Sometimes it's trying to, I believe, protect the identity of some of these people who were eyewitnesses. You think about it in those days, the kinds of persecution that the believers and especially those who were following Jesus would receive, especially from from the temple authorities and that kind of a thing. And so there are some people who say, you know, some of the anonymity there that's that's that's in the gospels is to protect these people. And then there are other times, you know, you think of earlier in the Gospel of Mark.

So the situation with with Bartimaeus is in Mark chapter 10. But earlier you have, for example, a woman with with a hemorrhage who is not named. And then you have Jairus, a famous synagogue official who was named. And Jesus heals Jairus' child and this woman.

He also heals her. But she's not named. And I think right there, Mark is emphasizing the fact that even for the nameless, Jesus is merciful. The people who, you know, we might not pay attention to or look at or care to know their name. And certainly this woman in that society would have been someone who was sort of cast aside by people, even her.

Jesus is so merciful and tender and pays attention to her, which I think is a huge and ought to be a huge comfort to us. But with regard to Bartimaeus in Mark chapter 10, I'm not sure if there's if there's anything we can say in terms of why he specifically is named. I don't think that, you know, in that passage that there's anything indicated that would would tell us it is something unique there. And so I'm not sure we could say more than that. Like I said, you know, sometimes they're not named. There's the anonymity to defend or protect some of these people. And sometimes we do get the names in the Gospels and that can be helpful.

But there's not much more I can say as far as Bartimaeus is concerned. Thank you for your question, brother. You're listening to Quora Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you or your loved one is still dealing with the consequences of COVID-19 or maybe you've been suffering in some other way, we have an important resource we'd like to offer you today. Yeah, we've been offering Christ and Calamity for a couple of days now.

And as Bill just said there, especially, you know, if you've been weighed down over the last several months, year with with all the things happening in our in our nation, with the pandemic, with some of the divisions that are out there, it's really important to focus on Christ and to receive the comfort that he gives us through his word and by his spirit. And this book will help you in that. It's called Christ and Calamity, and it's yours. And Bill, you can tell them how to how to get hold of this. You could go to our Web site, which is QuoraChristianity.com forward slash offers. We'd love to send you that for a donation of any amount. Again, QuoraChristianity.com forward slash offers.

Or you can call us for that offer or any one of our offers at eight three three the core. Well, let's go to a voicemail from one of our younger listeners named Hayden. So I had this question about Genesis chapter 32. It says that Jacob was wrestling with God until daybreak and he saw his face. But in John chapter one, it says that no one has ever saw the face of God except for Jesus.

And let's let's look at those passages really quickly. So John chapter one, verse 18. No one has ever seen God, the only God who is at the father's side. He has made him known. They're referring to Jesus and he hearkening back to verse one of of John one in the beginning was the word and the word was with God.

He saw him. The son was with the father and the word was God. And then you look at, you know, the passage you brought up, Genesis chapter 32.

I'm going to begin reading in verse 24. It says Jacob was left alone in a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. And when the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket and Jacob's hip was put out of joint.

He wrestled with him. Then he said, let me go for the day has broken. But Jacob said, I will not let you go unless you bless me. And he said to him, what is your name? And he said, Jacob. Then he said, your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed. And Jacob asked him, please tell me your name.

But he said, why is it that you ask my name? And there he blessed him. And so Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, for I have seen God face to face and yet my life has been delivered. And there are places in the in the Old Testament in particular where it talks about, look, you can't see God's face and live. And then there are other places where it seems like, you know, the text indicates that people did see the Lord.

There's a scene where a number of priests, including Moses, are up on a mountain. And it's that they saw the face of God. They saw God there. It's in the Book of Exodus, Exodus 24.

So how do we reconcile these things? Well, Hayden, I think there's a way in which we can say that these individuals saw God through his self revelation. That is, God is communicating himself to his people in a unique way, in a special way.

I think in Genesis 32, this is this is the angel of the Lord, this this figure who appears throughout the Old Testament, this divine status. Now, initially in in Genesis 32, Jacob probably thinks that he's wrestling with his brother Esau, because the context is he's about to meet Esau and he's terrified. He thinks Esau is going to hurt him because, you know, he wasn't very good to his brother. He kind of deceived him. That's an understatement. Yeah.

Yeah. Genesis 32, verse 11. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him that he may come and attack me. He's afraid. And it's the middle of the night and somebody starts attacking him. He probably thinks this is Esau.

And he realizes after a while, this is an Esau. You know, the sun starts to rise and he realizes that this is like the angel of the Lord. Now, so in that sense, as God is revealing himself, Jacob could say, I've seen God's face.

Right now. Now, not in the same way that Jesus is talking about, though, in John Chapter one. You see, no one can see God as he is in his essence. We're creatures.

We're totally different than he is. We can't we can't know God in that way. We can only know God as he has revealed himself to us. And throughout scripture, even with the angel of the Lord, this is God revealing himself to his people in a way that they can understand, in a way that they can comprehend so that they can't say, well, I've seen the Lord.

He's revealed himself to me. But no one can see Jesus. No one can see God in the same way that Jesus was talking about there in John Chapter one. So that's what's unique about the second person of the Holy Trinity. He is God as as as light from light, God from God, as the Nicene Creed says, you know, that that ancient Christian creed that that believers confess all over the world.

And so so, yeah, so that's a distinguished right. That's the way we would distinguish these two passages. One, God is revealing himself, you know, through through this self revelation, the angel of the Lord. But none of us can see God as he is in his essence because we're creatures.

And he's the all holy, all powerful Lord. Great response. And thank you, Hayden, for that great question. We appreciate you listening. So nice to hear from some of our younger listeners on a regular basis that they're engaging with God's word.

And they're really trying to, you know, determine the truth for themselves at a young age. Yeah, we love it. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Marissa, who's calling from Jolly, Iowa.

Hi, Marissa. What's your question for Pastor Adriel? My question is, the woman was brought to Jesus because of adultery. And where was the man? And David had many wives and concubines. And then he has an adulterous relation with Bathsheba.

But he wasn't punished for this. I believe it's supposed to be one man, one woman. And yet you don't see in the Bible where a woman had many husbands. When was this changed and accepted that it was okay for the man?

Yeah, it doesn't seem fair, does it, Marissa? Well, let me just say this. You're right that it's supposed to be one man, one woman. You just think about the original creation in Genesis, right? And Jesus even refers to this later in the Gospels. This is why, you know, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, leave to his wife. It was never just sort of okay to go and have multiple partners. In fact, early in Genesis, that was one of the things that brought about God's judgment, sort of polygamy. And yet you do see these ancient kings taking to themselves many wives and concubines and that kind of a thing. And actually, you know, kings like Solomon were warned against this.

This is not something that you should do. And yet they did. And I will say this. David was judged for his adultery. I mean, part of the judgment was God, you know, took the child that was born to he and Bathsheba.

And this was a very serious thing. And David talks about that judgment in part in Psalm 51, you know, where he finally comes to repentance after the prophet Nathan came to him. There is the ideal, what's right. And then what we have throughout scripture is the sinful actions of humans and things that we do in disobedience to God and disobedience to what should be. And so I don't know that I would say it was ever just okay and that God just thought, oh, yeah, that's no big deal.

There were constant warnings. You had the sort of original creation the way it was meant to be. You have Jesus confirming that in the New Testament. You have even what we see in the New Testament.

You know, when Paul talks about elders and deacons, he says, you know, one of the qualifications is to be the husband of one wife, because this was always how God intended it to be. And so the sad thing is, and in one sense, this is also kind of a comfort, I think, to us, when we look at the Bible, what we see is imperfect people that God uses. David sinned in horrible ways. He did things that he should not have done, and yet the Lord still used him. And the reality is that's all of us. We can look at these characters in the Bible and say, oh, man, he's such an example, but really the only real example, the only one who was ever truly perfect was our Lord Jesus himself. All of these figures, like David, like Solomon, there were great things about them, but then there were also terrible things that they did, and so they point us forward to the true and ultimate, pure and perfect king who took his bride, his one bride, the church, Jesus, and is faithful to her and loves her. And that's our model.

That should be the model. Paul, in the book of Ephesians, he talks about the relationship between Christ and the church and how that essentially is the picture for marriage, and it always has been from the very beginning. It should look like one man, one woman, loving one another. The husband is to sacrifice for his wife, to lay down his life for her. That's what God calls us to, Marissa. When we look at the Bible, we see people who didn't do that well, who didn't do that perfectly, who went off and disobeyed God's word, and that's why we need the gospel, the forgiveness of Jesus, the goodness of Jesus, the blood of Jesus to cleanse us. That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program, and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-12 06:50:19 / 2023-11-12 07:00:54 / 11

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