Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. Now a slave does not remain in the house forever, but a son remains forever.John 8:34–35 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Not having a full understanding of the Torah hinders us Gentiles. We want to understand the things Jesus says, and we do in a shallow sense. There are deeper things we need to be diligent in searching out.
It would not occur to me to understand what Jesus is saying in light of the Torah. In this case, Jesus is referring to some of the first things about an elect people God will call His servants and the origins of that.
Therefore she said to Abraham, “Throw out this slave woman and her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son, Isaac.”Genesis 21:10 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
We know that Isaac was the chosen heir. But there is an important distinction being made between servants and heirs. There is also an apparent distinction inherent among servants. There are those bought with money and there are those homeborn.
Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave?Jeremiah 2:14 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Why has he been plundered?
I understand that these texts will have layers of meanings. The first question asked here lends itself to be prophetic in nature as it speaks of Jesus. It also encompasses the entire nation of Israel. While it causes us to remember the son of Isaac, Jacob.
The Homeborn Servant.
But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I am childless and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Abram said, “Since You have not given me any children, my heir is a servant born in my house.”Genesis 15:2–3 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
We get a tiny glimpse into the realities of life in those times. To a childless couple, the first homeborn servant is heir apparent. It was no different for Abram and Sarai.
In their haste to work God’s promises for themselves, Sarai’s servant Hagar was given to Abram. The homeborn son is named Ishmael.
As Ishmael had the distinction of being fathered by Abram with the servant Hagar, he was now heir-apparent. This by the distinction of not being bought, but homeborn. More important is the fact that he is the firstborn son.
When the promise of God came after Abraham and Sarah’s names were changed, Isaac was born. Isaac is not firstborn and not heir-apparent. Therefore, the servant-child had to be driven out. Even though Isaac was a son, he was also a servant.
Though Ishmael benefits of the promise made to Abraham, the promise was on Isaac, not Ishmael. Isaac was the son of promise. God would also establish a covenant with Isaac.
The Lord appeared to him that same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for the sake of My servant Abraham.”Genesis 26:24 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
It is my contention that Abraham typifies the bought servant, while Isaac, the homeborn. Genetic heritage does not change, and the people descended from Abraham through the homeborn slave-son Ishmael and the son Isaac are innumerable. The son of bondage heir apparent had to be removed.
This hints as to the work of the cross. When Jesus died, the son of bondage was driven out. It made room for the son of promise. In other words, death was removed that life could be received.
Jacob is Born.
Now Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her, and she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. Then the Lord said to her,Genesis 25:21–23 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples will be separated from your body;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”
Paralleling the plight of his parents, Isaac and Rebekah were also barren. The promises of God entail countless progeny. In these times people waited years for the promises of God to come. It is not that He is slack or slow, but all things happen in due time.
When Isaac and Rebekah conceived, two babies would be born. This provides another important distinction. The older shall serve the younger. The covenant promise will be to the younger.
We follow that covenant promise. Just as Isaac was chosen and the slave driven away. The younger would be chosen as the conveyance of God’s promise.
We know the account of how Jacob bought the birthright with a pot of red lentils. We also know how Rebekah and Jacob connived to obtain the blessing of Isaac. It teaches us another important lesson, a birthright can be bought (I will leave that to you to figure out how that points to Jesus.)
Then the man said, “Your name will no more be called Jacob, but Israel. For you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed.”Genesis 32:28 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
It is this Jacob that serves as a further typification of Jesus in many ways. God’s covenant comes to Jacob, and his name is changed. The way the Bible weaves together the names of Israel, Jacob, and Jesus provide an easily accessible entree to a deeper truth.
Jacob prevailed. I think this to be prophetic in nature as it foreshadows Jesus.
But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look in it. I began to weep loudly, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look in it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Look! The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”Revelation 5:3–5 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Jesus has prevailed. But what of this fought with God?
The Hebrew word behind the English fought is from the same root of Jacob’s grandmother’s name Sarah. It doesn’t mean physical fighting, but more like persistence and perseverance. As an aside, Sarah had to persist and persevere with Abraham! Yet something else about Jesus comes to mind…
Let us look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and your hearts give up.Hebrews 12:2–3 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Jacob my Servant.
Here is My servant, whom I uphold,Isaiah 42:1 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
My chosen one, in whom My soul delights.
I have put My Spirit upon him;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations.
You are My witnesses, says the Lord,Isaiah 43:10 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
and My servant whom I have chosen
that you may know and believe Me,
and understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
nor shall there be after Me.
Yet now listen, O Jacob, My servant,Isaiah 44:1 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
and Israel, whom I have chosen.
Remember these things, O Jacob,Isaiah 44:21 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
and Israel, for you are My servant;
I have formed you; you are My servant;
O Israel, you shall not be forgotten by Me.
There are many witnesses to attest to the fact that Israelis are servants. The texts also have prophetic implications. They show us plainly that the names Jacob, Israel, and my servant all point to Jesus.
A Son is Forever.
In the Tanakh, we see Israel presented as a servant. Since Abraham, these would be the homeborn servants. But as clearly seen, there is a better relationship. That is to be a son (or child of God.) Jesus said a son remains forever.
A physical birthright doesn’t convey salvation. Salvation comes by promise. With all of this, what Paul writes to the Galatians is clear.
Sons by Faith.
You are all sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, and there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.Galatians 3:26–29 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Homeborn servants are not necessarily sons of promise. Salvation isn’t conferred by election or birthright. It comes by faith.
No Longer a Servant, but a Son and Heir.
Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ from a servant though he is lord of all. But he is under tutors and governors until the time appointed by the father. So when we were children, we were in bondage to the elements of the world. But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born from a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth into our hearts the Spirit of His Son, crying, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a servant, but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through ChristGalatians 4:1–7 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Adam sold his birthright for some food just like Esau. Jesus bought that birthright by obedience. He bought it to give it back to you as children of God received by faith.