by C. Parker Thomas

“Fear not, thou worm, Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:14-16.

Jacob, the second of a set of twins born to Rebekah and Isaac, inherited the elder twin’s birthright when Esau sold it to him in a moment of weakness for a mess of pottage.

However, we discover that this was God’s predestined plan concerning the two boys. Romans 9:10-13. Though technically the birthright belonged to Esau, God chose Jacob before they were born. This, of course, shows us that regardless of the means used to bring us into our inheritance, “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth but God that showeth mercy.” “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Rom. 11:29. This is a bitter pill for fallen human nature to swallow. However, we must recognize and accept the sovereign will and purpose of God in our personal lives, the church and the world before we can have genuine rest in our souls.

Though the appointed means must be recognized and used in the building of the Lord’s house, God is absolutely sovereign in the choice of the material that goes into it. Each stone has a particular place and must be made to fit before it is added to the building. This one thing we must learn before the Holy Spirit can use us in the building of the Lord’s house.

Solomon’s temple is a beautiful type of this truth. I Kings 6:7 says, “And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor ax nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.”

Jacob, the supplanter, is a beautiful type of those who are called to be overcomers. Esau by birth, physical prowess and personality was the stronger one, the natural born leader, a man’s man type.

Jacob was mamma’s boy and stayed close to home. Esau was the cunning hunter who braved the wilderness to bring in the game. He was the favorite with his father while Jacob the dutiful and obedient son, was the mothers favorite. However, she knew by revelation, that contrary to custom, the elder was destined to serve the younger.

“Fear not, thou worm Jacob. …” I believe this scripture is prophetic of a people who are living today who are called to be overcomers. Though it, no doubt, has been applied to men and situations since the Holy Spirit spoke these words through the prophet Isaiah, I believe its greatest fulfillment looked down to the end of the church age.

Jacob became the symbolic name that applies to the elect while they are still in the weak, vacillating, underdeveloped stage. The Lord made no mistake in referring to Jacob as a worm. The worm here refers to the helpless larvae stage of the butterfly while still shut up in the prison of its cocoon. This is what Paul was talking about in Romans 12:2 when he spoke of being transformed by the renewing of our minds. The Greek word, “metamorphoo,” translated “transformed,” is used in connection with the change of the larva into the beautiful butterfly that bursts the prison walls of its cocoon and soars to freedom amidst the glories of God’s creation.

Is this not what the whole creation is groaning and travailing for when the creature itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God? Romans 8:18-23.

Though we, by faith, believe these things are sure to come, we also see the time of Jacob’s trouble. Jeremiah 30:5-10 pictures it thusly: “For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord: neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.”

Out of this darkness and travail will come forth this new threshing instrument that will thresh the mountains, (kingdoms), and rule in righteousness. Rev. 2:26-27; 12:1-5. Jacob the worm must go through this time of utter darkness and despair before he bursts the prison of his cocoon and comes forth as Israel, having power with God and man.

Even now a sense of weakness and futility grips the hearts of God’s elect remnant such as has never been experienced before. They are literally coming to the place of total and complete nothingness in themselves. Though they have caught the vision of the great restoration of the church, they have no strength to do anything about it. Neither can they go back into the church systems of the world. The vision of the banqueting table of the latter house has spoiled their appetite for the tables of vomit and filthiness. Song of Solomon 2:4; Haggai 2:9; Isaiah 28:8.

They are truly in a wilderness place sealed off from Egypt by the Red Sea and standing on the shores of swollen Jordan with no strength to cross over.

Their position is almost untenable; it is one of reproach and shame. They are held in contempt and derision by the unbelieving religious world while the weak and the fainthearted are beginning to wonder if it is so. And if it is so, is it worth it? Like Gideon when told by the angel of the Lord, “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.” They ask the question, “If the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? And where be all his miracles which our father told us of…?” Judges 6:12-13.

We feel almost like Hezekiah did in his message to Isaiah concerning the impending invasion by Sennacherib, “This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.” II Kings 19:3.

Like Jacob, we know that through Esau’s fall, (apostasy of professing church which has sold their birthright for a mess of pottage), the birthright now belongs to us. But also like Jacob, we are as yet weak and vacillating. We are fearful and would like to flee away to some place of quiet peace and safety.

In addition to fearing our elder brother Esau (professing church world) who hates us, we are lovers of peace. Contention and strife kills us and makes us sick at heart. But Paul recommended we must come to the place where we are living sacrifices willing to be killed all the day long. Rom. 8:36, 12:1.

Before deliverance, we will indeed be “as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.” Isaiah 1:8. We will be shut up on every side with our only hope of deliverance from the throne above. Like the Jews during the days of Mordecai when Esther was made queen, we will be glad we have an intercessor who has access to the throne. Were it not for this, our cause would be hopeless. AN OBJECT OF GRACE
Though there is definitely this dark side to the picture, Jacob, the worm, can rejoice that he has been chosen of God. Jacob had nothing to do with God choosing him. There was no beauty, no merit, and no strength in him. To the contrary, he was weak, defenseless and despicable as a worm.

Deuteronomy 32:9-10 says, “For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.” The Lord has watched over, kept and nurtured Jacob even during his backslidings and rebellion. Grace alone has kept Jacob from being cut off. Read Isaiah 48:1-21.

Our safety and security is not dependent upon our goodness and strength. For then God’s choice would be based upon desirable qualities in us. The only way his grace could be manifested is by choosing someone that does not deserve it. However, this is not to say that Jacob will go unpunished, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” Heb. 12:6. “Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the Lord: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure, yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.” Jeremiah 46:28.

Satan, the arch-deceiver, has beguiled us. In times past he has made us believe that it was all up to us and we must measure up or else. We have lived under the shadow of self condemnation, not realizing that God has purposely chosen the weak, the foolish, the base and the despised. His everlasting covenant is with the worm Jacob who must become Israel, the prince. Psalm 105:6-10 says: “O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. He is the Lord our God: his judgments are in all the earth. He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath until Isaac; and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant.”

Jacob and Israel are symbolical names often applied to the whole nation composed of the true and false element. According to Romans 11 it is natural Israel that is blinded and broken off. True Israel, within natural Israel, is a very small remnant. Romans 11:5. These are the elect, chosen ones of God which have never been broken off. They will, without fail, inherit the kingdom of God.

Jesus referred to them as a little flock in which it was the Father’s good pleasure to give them the kingdom. Luke 12:32. Isaiah 1:9 has this same remnant in mind when he said, “Except the Lord of hosts had left us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.”

Were it not for this elect remnant, there would be no flesh spared during the tribulation that is coming upon the earth. Matt. 24:22.

Though I make no issue of it, I do not believe this elect remnant is necessarily from among those we know as the natural Jews. This is a spiritual seed scattered among many nations known only to God and recognized by the circumcision of the heart.

Paul makes this principle plain in Romans 2:28-29. “For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

Romans 11:26 tells us that this true seed or remnant shall all be saved. “And so all Israel shall be saved. As it is written, There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” This, of course, refers to the true element which God has purposed to bring together in one before he is through.

Often it is difficult to distinguish between natural Jacob and spiritual Jacob, likewise natural Israel and spiritual Israel. But it is necessary as there is a distinct difference. Only spiritual Jacob can and will become Israel the overcomer. He has been chosen of God for that very purpose.

When these names are used in a natural, literal sense, they encompass a whole, made up of true and false. Symbolically they refer to the true elect only. Jacob, the worm, is this chosen remnant in the immature, fearful, weak and despised state. The word “Israel” means, “he will rule as God” (Strong’s Concordance). This, symbolically used, points to the worm Jacob that overcomes and as a prince, has power with God and man. Genesis 32:28.

Jacob typifies those who by faith expectantly await the blessing. They have nothing but the revelation of the word to stand on. All other refuge (of lies) has to be swept away from Jacob before he becomes Israel. The promise alone (the covenant) will be his hope in the darkest hour that is yet to come. At the very instant Jacob’s faith is perfected, the Lord will say, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” Read the rest of Isaiah 60 and note the result of this glorious transformation and exaltation of Jacob who overcomes to become Israel.

By way of contrast, Esau typifies those who presumptuously endeavor to build a kingdom by their own strength and wisdom for their own glory apart from the plan and purpose of God. Though they have been stripped of the anointing and glory (lost the birthright) they still insist on building the Lord’s house, not aware that Babylon must fall. Malachi 1:1-5, gives a beautiful picture of Jacob who became Israel and Esau who produce presumptuous Edom.

Like Jacob who fled the land of his nativity for fear of his brother Esau, the true remnant has been strangers and pilgrims, temporarily alienated (not cut off) from the covenant blessings of God. Though temporarily dispossessed, the birthright belongs to Jacob by the everlasting covenant and none can take it from him; not even Esau who had a legal claim to it at one time.

As Jacob, during his hour of darkest trial before he overcame and was named Israel, we must reckon on the faithfulness of our God who has given us his covenant word. Gen. 32:9-12.

Though the birthright covenant belongs to Jacob, it has been desolated through the overspreading of abominations, Daniel 9:27, and must be reactivated. We must be brought back into the bond of this covenant before the birthright blessings can be manifested. Ezekiel 20:37.

Like seed found in an Egyptian tomb, believed to be four thousand years old, the life was still there and when planted in the ground it sprung up and produced fruit after four thousand years of dormancy.

Jacob knew of God’s covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac and himself but only in utter desperation did he have the faith to use it. Genesis 32:9-12.

Then too, there was a time element involved that had to be honored. Jacob could not return to the land of his inheritance until the appointed time. And, of course, this had to come by revelation. Genesis 31:13.

As Jacob the worm, the Lord has not been glorified in us, nevertheless, we are his and he loves us with an everlasting love. In fact, he refuses to see iniquity in Jacob. Though the accuser of the brethren is forever at work, none shall be able to lay anything to the charge of God’s elect. Romans 8:33-39.

Balak, the king of Moab, did his best to hire Balaam, the false prophet, to curse Jacob but he could only prophesy good by saying, “Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed: and I cannot reverse it. He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.” Numbers 23:20-22.

These things being so, someone may ask the question: “What can I do to be an overcomer?” In the strictest sense, nothing. You can do no more than the worm can do. If you are of Jacob, the worm group, you will overcome. Too much has been done already by those who desired to be overcomers, manifested sons, prophets and apostles.

Every builder of Babylon, from the original to this day, has desired to do great things for god (themselves). It is time for the Lord to build his house. At the present time, the stones are being sawn and hewn to fit in their places.

Last Sunday morning, the Lord showed us that he is doing a deep hidden work that is not known nor understood by but a very few. It is almost entirely an inward work of the Spirit that carnal eyes are not able to discern.

Those who live for the shallow, superficial experiences of the past will not be able to recognize nor partake of this. Those seeking new religious thrills will, in fact, turn away in disgust. It is literally a work of the cross that will do away with the vacillating worm Jacob and bring forth Israel, the prince.

Still water runs deep; noisy turbulent water is shallow. When the Lord is through with Jacob the worm, he will not be like the waves of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

As the confinement of our cocoon increases, we will reach the place where we can do nothing but submit to the work of God in our hearts. This is when we shall cease from our own labors and learn what it means to enter into rest. The sixth day, man’s day, will be over and the seventh day, the Lord’s day, will begin.

The Lord will be glorified in his people. Jacob, the worm, shall be transformed into Israel, the prince. Israel will indeed rule as God.

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