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Parashah 6: Tol'dot

by Michael Bugg

Torah:  B’resheit (Genesis) 25:19-28:9

Haftarah:  Mal’akhi (Malachi) 1:1-2:7

B’rit Chadasha:  Romans 9:1-33

The Theme

One of the great ongoing debates in Christianity is Predestination vs. Free Will, also known as Calvinism vs. Arminianism.  Calvinists see themselves as the defenders of God’s sovereignty, while Arminians see themselves as defending His character.  One of the central passages in this debate is Romans chapter 9.  However, when we carefully examine Romans 9, we see that the subject is not the election of individuals to salvation, but the election of nations to a particular purpose.  The story of Jacob and Esau is not just the story of two brothers, but the story of a conflict that spans some two thousand years. 

God’s predestination is always based on His foreknowledge (Rom. 8:29), and in His foreknowledge, He knew which of the two brothers would produce the line best suited to bring forth the Messiah.  In His sovereignty, He had and has the right to choose that line.  He also has the right to choose when and how to fulfill His promises.  Just as His promise to Jacob that he would inherit the Land was put on hold because of Jacob’s sin in deceiving Isaac, so His promise to the children of Jacob, the nation of Israel, has been put on hold because of the sin of rejecting their King. 

He also has the right—and because of the Covenant promises to Abraham, the obligation (not imposed by anyone else, but mandated by His own nature)—to bring about the restoration of Israel, a restoration that we are blessed to see in our own day.




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