A hundred years ago, Dr. Frank de Graaff (1918-1993) saw the light of day in Rotterdam. He turned out to be a gifted preacher who spelled Bible texts from the ground languages. Church professor and religious scholar H. Jonker typified him as the seer of Hattem, his last congregation. De Graaff published a dozen studies, in which the relationship between Israel and the peoples occupies a central place. He read the Gospels as a message from Jews to the nations. The Messiah's lasting bond with his people has remained hidden from their eyes. De Graaff honors Jesus as the eternal Torah and wisdom of God (Proverbs 8), who restored Israel and sent his disciples as representatives of Israel to the nations.


Their attitude towards the people of the Torah is part of the prophetic secret of world history. De Graaff sees this secret in principle already expressed in the battle between Jacob-Israel and Esau. Esau, according to Jewish tradition, is a model for the pursuit of world domination, which is accompanied by oppression of Israel. This is especially true of Israel's heaviest exile under Rome. He sees in that model as well as Israel also the later domination by the Roman church insofar as they displace the position of Israel with Roman principles and dogmas of emperors and popes. Jacob's battle with Rome is, according to his exegesis of Genesis 32, conducted by Jacob in principle with the angel of Esau. The struggle of Israel with the peoples continues in the Gospels. The struggle is for the people to recognize the God of Israel and the birthright of Israel. The angel of Esau has acknowledged Jacob and called him Israel. This prince or sar has been overcome by the love of Jacob who has fought with divine beings and with people to save them. After Esau's angel blessed Jacob as the firstborn, the angel can be blessed himself according to the divine promise. What applies to his guardian angel also applies to Esau himself. Jacob does not release Esau, but does not withdraw with him. Jacob will not meet Esau according to Rashi in Seir in the days of the Messiah. Seir (Edom) symbolizes, according to the rabbis, Rome, which is responsible for Israel's exile (Sanhedrin 94a).


The coming of the Son of man


Jesus speaks about the Messianic coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven in the gospel of Matthew (24:30). Daniel has seen this coming in a nightly sight (7:13). The twelve disciples of Jesus, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, lived in the same expectation as their people. After the resurrection they looked forward to the restoration of the Kingship by King Jesus. The teaching of their Master on earth strengthened them in this expectation during the Roman exile. Jesus himself does not indicate when he will restore the Kingship, because the heavenly Father has that time (it is God's secret, cf. Sanhedrin 94a). Only false messiahs have indicated the exact time of their arrival.


The Christian church, in spite of the promise of the Second Coming, has been repeated by Paul (Rom.11: 25.26) and Peter (II, 3), in the absence of it and the meaning of the reign of Rome is not directly related to the To understand Jewish exile. In the long run, Christians from the nations even believed that they had taken the place of the people of Israel. This presumptuous misconception stemmed from the alleged separation of Jesus and his people. And the result was that mission was being done among the Jews. However, Jesus said before his ascension to his disciples: "Outgoing (from me and from Israel) teaches all gojim (pagan nations), baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt.28 : 19) "So they are not sent to the Jews, but to the goyim." The peoples are led to the Name by teaching and by baptism. "The disciples must teach all that Jesus taught them." Jesus added: "I Be with you until the end of the world (28:20) until the Second Coming.


'You' refers to the Jewish disciples, who represent all of Israel, which was scattered in 135 after the destruction of Jerusalem. Ever since the veil of the temple has been torn, Israel's God has left the temple. Otherwise, the Romans would not have been able to destroy the temple in 70. The conclusion of the nations, that the Lord has left his people, is a great misconception. After all, Jesus is with them and has also announced that this generation will not pass until all these things have happened (24: 34). That means that the people of Israel will stay until his arrival. In Jewish tradition the same is said in other words. As the Shechinah, the glorious indwelling of God, having left the temple, He goes along with his people in the exile. That part of the people represents all Israel is more common in Jewish history. At the Mount Sinai all souls of Israel, the saved souls of the coming generations, are already included. It is precisely the part of the people of Israel that does not know the law, Jesus wants to add. He did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to Teshuva. That conversion is always an internal Jewish cause in the gospel. The prodigal son of the parable is not a heathen, but a Jew who does not keep the law.


Judgment and measure


The end of Matthew 25 speaks of the last judgment of the Son of man over the Gentile nations, the goyim. Before that it is about the bride Israel who goes to meet the Messianic bridegroom and is judged on the basis of the fear of God and the fulfillment of the lawfulness. In dealing with the Lord God, the Torah must lead to abundant justice in the practice of life. This claim is also made by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount to Israel. The judgment on the peoples shows unambiguously that they can only be saved if they have sought salvation outside themselves in Jesus.


The Son of man judges the goyim on the basis of their treatment of his brothers. Those brothers are around him. The peoples are gathered before him at the judgment. Their surprise is great when it appears that their attitude towards Jesus has been expressed in their attitude towards his people (25:40 and 45), the least of his brothers. The sheep and the goats face Jesus and his brothers; according to the text: 'this, here with me'. This shows the close bond between Jesus and his brothers, or the people of Israel.


From this judgment it appears that the goyim may bless Israel. Blessing is grateful to acknowledge that Israel is God's means to bless the nations. The one who despised the Jew and did not care about him is cursed by the Messiah. Solemnly declares the king to those Jewish brothers have not blessed Verily I say unto you, provided you have not done one of these little ones, you have not done it unto me. But the justified showing their astonishment, they get the answer: Amen I say to you, unless you have done it unto one of these my brethren, even one of the least of them, you did it to Me.


The standard of judgment: the blessing of Jacob-Israel


The criterion for the judgment on the goat is already given in Genesis. The blessing that patriarch Jacob receives from his father Isaac expresses the same (Gen. 27:29): Who curses you, curses them and blesses you, be blessed! In the Christian tradition is the continuation of the struggle between Jacob and Esau for the birthright, particularly Jacob's struggle at the Jabbok, usually applied to the faith experience of the struggling man. However, Jewish exegesis begins with the divine sign that Rebekah receives in the womb. In line with this, it appears that the salvation of the world is at stake in the battle between Jacob and Esau. Rebekah consults the Lord God and asks Him about the significance of the two children in the womb to bounce together? He answers her: Two peoples are in your womb, and two nations will separate themselves from your bowels; and one nation will be more powerful than another, and the elder will serve the younger.


At birth it appears that the youngest holds the heel of the eldest. That is why he is called Jacob. 'Holding the heel "This birth history is the basic pattern of the story of Jacob and Esau pronounced The youngest will be served, in contrast with the traditional habit by the eldest This reversal has far-reaching significance..: the Lord God puts a new principle to rescue the fallen creation. the need for this renewal means that the old world has no future. the strongest can not save the fallen creation, even though the remains are so precious. the memories to paradise can give only temporary beauty and consolation. Therefore the Lord God gives a new principle of grace. This does not mean that he destroy the old will. Rather, he wants to save it. Hence, the role of the younger and weaker but the divine principle will consist in the retention of the elder, and therefore it is stated that Jacob already holds the heel of his brother Esau in his mother's womb.


Jacob's tenacity is the recurring theme in history. That also comes when Esau sells the birthright to Jacob. Jacob thinks of the divine speech, which his father seems to have forgotten. He waits for the right time to force his brother to be acknowledged. That is when the strong hunter Esau comes back exhausted from the hunt. This story suggests at least that in the old world only through exhaustive effort a powerful man can still provide for his maintenance. The essence of the story is that hunter peoples live on the remains of paradise,exhaustive effort a powerful man can still provide for his maintenance. The essence of the story is that hunter peoples live on the remains of paradise, but have no future. Jacob was a simple man who lived in tents. As a shepherd he cared for animals and protected them. He lived from their gifts. The shepherd has aversion to killing, as the hunter does, because he lets the soul of the injured animal suffocate; he even eats it. The shepherd slaughter the animal: Slaughter is original sacrifice. Hence the need to kill kosher (cf. Acts 15:20).


Jacob realizes his calling and follows the advice of his mother. It is about the effect of the new principle, which is intended to save the world. Rebekka is in need. Isaac is ambiguous. He himself was born from the new principle. When he blesses his son Esau, the new life goes up in the old. But the new can not be subordinated to the old. The divine saying is that the elder must serve the younger. When Rebekah notices that Isaac has forgotten God's speech, she resorts to a ruse. Jacob hesitates, he is afraid that his father will discover the deceit and curse him. Rebekah shows himself generously and is prepared to accept that curse. That is how she wants to be of service to the new salvation. She does not wait for the intervention of God, but is guided by the divine talk entrusted to her.


Jacob is convinced. His mother prepares the meal. According to the shepherd tradition of her father Laban, it is no game, but taken from the herd. She does not prepare for Isaac the "choked" of the world, which no longer has any future, but the unsound, slaughtered animal, which has the character of a sacrifice, but she envelops everything with appearances and deceit. refined, that it resembles venison.


The reaction of Esau


When Esau hears that Jacob is blessed for him, he cries out, very great and bitter (27: 34). Esau also wants to be blessed, but Isaac replies that the deceit of his brother has taken his blessing away. His reproach ignores the divination and his own contempt for the birthright (25:32). Isaac suggests that Jacob's blessing was for Esau, but also states that the blessing for Jacob is irrevocable. Thereupon Esau misrepresents Jacob's name as "loiter on the heels." This reference to the devilish snake has proved to be food for anti-Semites. Esau weeps and intends to kill his brother after Isaac's death. The blessing he draws from Isaac is an extension of the old principle and causes strife, for Esau can delay serving his brother by shaking off the yoke of servitude. With that, the salvation of the world is postponed.


Jacob flees from the threat of Esau and goes to find a woman outside of Canaan. On the way to the cunning Laban, who, according to the old dispensation, Jacob first marries Leah, God himself confirms Bethel Jacob's blessing. In the dream he sees a ladder on the earth, reaching up to the sky. The angels of God rise and descend; they sometimes reveal themselves to people. They are divine powers that protect believers and propagate divine justice in the judgment of the fate of people and peoples. Jacob has received the blessing of the new principle. He sees and hears that YHWH reveals himself as the God of his father Abraham and of Isaac. Jacob has seen the secret that YHWH is the Lord of Angels: Whoever is associated with the Lord of angels, need not fear the powers. They will have to bless Jacob, the apple of the eye of God. The encounter with the angels can even become a battle. But Jacob is connected with the Lord of angels. That is why he will conquer.


Jacob can only fight the powers by reminding them of the commission that the Lord has given these angels. It is about the continuation of the fatherhood of Abraham. The Lord promises to give Jacob the land on which he is lying. He will become the ancestor of a great people. This people will be the bearer of the new principle of redemption: "Blessing will be with you all the tribes of the earth and with your seed, for I am with you: I will keep you wherever you go, and I will let you return to this ground ( 28:15) "This principle of redemption is for all peoples, but it is given by and in the people of Jacob." The people will have to admit that the Lord God himself is with Jacob. "Here the Messianic salvation is pronounced, that only In the people of Jacob, the Messiah is Jacob's seed, Jacob has gained insight into the divine world in sleep, and this insight enables him to recognize the angels.


But Jacob is also reminded of his deception and the tears of Esau. Although he has used it only as a means in need, it results  that Esau hardens himself and wants to free himself from Jacob's grasp. Jacob's deception even leads to Esau threatening to drive out the salvation of all peoples of the world by killing Jacob. Without the tears of Esau being dried, Jacob fears for his life. Esau, however, is not blessed as the grandson of Abraham and as the son of Isaac, but can only be blessed through his brother Jacob. A confrontation can not fail. Their encounter is preceded by Jacob's fight with a man: "And a man struggled with him until the day came up." (32:24) That man is the guardian angel of Esau who was added to him by Isaac's blessing. such a power also prince, in this sense the word appears in various Bible texts: God himself is called Prince of princes (Dan 8:25) Daniel speaks of the angels of the people and Joshua 5:14 of the Sar of the heavenly host.


Jacob wrestles with the angel of Esau


The angel of Esau attacks Jacob. The angel acts according to the blessing that Isaac gave Esau, for he is that blessing himself. That is why he does everything to shake off the yoke of Jacob's rule. All night the angel wrestles violently and silently with Jacob until the day goes out. He is strong at night. He wants to not only conquer Jacob but also submit to it. He injures the joint of Jacob's hip in a violent struggle. Despite the injury, Jakob keeps his opponent in a firm grip. According to the prophet Hosea, Jacob wrestled with the angel and prevailed (12: 5). The angel beseeches him as he approaches the day's advice to let him go. Hosea adds that the angel in Bethel wants to appear with Jacob before YHWH. In Bethel the angels rise up to sing a song of praise in the heavenly choir (Chullien 91b), but Jacob does not let the angel go before he has blessed him. De Graaff is of the opinion that the angel uses his heavenly task to withdraw from his earthly obligation. Esau and his angel want to come to the salvation of the Kingdom of God without acknowledging Jacob's mediation. But the angel can only participate in the heavenly song, if he has acknowledged Jacob's birthright.


The angel of Esau must not see deceit in the firm grip of Jacob, but the warrior with divine beings and with men. The angel blesses him, because he has to admit that Jacob has been princely. That's why he calls him Israel. This removes the appearance of deception. He fought for the priority with the angel and overcame him. He is the superior, because his God is the superior.


Thanks to the divine power of the new principle, Israel is the servant of the incomparable God. The sun of righteousness comes before him in Peniel. There he saw the face of a divine being. He, thanks to the blessing of the angel of Esau at Peniel, approached his brother lovingly (33: 4). Esau is overwhelmed by Jacob's conciliatory attitude. First, however, he does not want to accept Jacob's gift because he thinks he has more than enough of his blessing from Isaac (33: 9). Then the people of Jacob-Israel bow before him. This shows that Israel rules by serving. When Jacob reminds him in veiled terms that he has seen Ezaus's face through a divine being and that Esau has had mercy on him, Esau accepts the blessing that Jacob brought for him. Esau accepts the blessing of Jacob-Israel because he recognizes that he (his angel) has blessed Jacob.


De Graaff has made it plausible that in the struggle of Jacob with the angel of Esau the Messianic secret is at stake. This insight is obscured in the Christian tradition. Rome has not seen the cunning of Jacob and the so-called "rejection" and "hardening" of Israel as a condition for the salvation of the Romans (the children of Esau), but the Israeli Messiah Jesus was released from Israel. Paul calls that partial hardening, which does not touch the hidden being of Israel but the outside, but a mystery: so all Israel will be saved (Rom. 11:25). I refer for all these thoughts and their elaboration to the studies of De Graaff himself: If gods die; A.D. 1000- A.D. 2000; The secret of world history (see for this text and some sermons from De Graaff: www.metahistorie.com); Jesus the Hidden I and II and Israel-Hellas Rome


De vision of dr. Frank de Graaff on the Messianic secret, dr. L. Engelfriet