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God Hated Esau

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“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” (Romans 9:13)

“I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,

And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” (Malachi 1:2, 3)

Some blasphemously say that if God hated anyone, He was being unrighteous! It is, without doubt, blasphemy. And, as a pastor by the name of Henry T Mahan (USA) commented:

‘You will sometimes hear those who deny the wrath of God and preach the universal love of God for all men declare that what this verse in Romans 9:13 really says is, "God loves Jacob and He loves Esau LESS." Now, I ask you, how does our infinite, Almighty, perfect God do anything LESS than perfectly? Is He at times LESS RIGHTEOUS? LESS HOLY? LESS JUST? Our comfort in Christ is that He who loves His sheep HAS always loved them, WILL always love them, and loves them AS He loves Christ Jesus, His only begotten Son (John 17:23). And to those who were told to depart from His presence, He said, "I NEVER knew you." Malachi 3:6 declares, "I am THE LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." Our comfort is that HIS LOVE IN CHRIST is without degrees or changes, as is His wrath upon those outside of the Ark - Christ Jesus!’

The comments by Henry Mahan are perfectly correct. He identifies the culprit in this gross misrepresentation of God – the universalist, the one who says, unbiblically and without merit, that God loves everyone equally, and therefore He cannot send people to hell, nor can He hate anyone. (For a full explanation of the fact that God certainly does hate people, see my article A-263).

As usual we must go to the actual text to discover what God ‘meant’. The text says He “hated” Esau. In the Romans text the word is miseō. It does NOT mean a lesser love – it means to hate and to detest (see, for example, Thayer’s lexicon). Not only that but it means that the one being hated is pursued with hatred. Like the serpent seducing Eve with lies, the universalist is willing to alter God’s word to make it deny the fact that God hates. God said that? Never! But, Oh yes He did!

I will not apologise to the universalist, whose very mind is set on denying what God says in truth. He will manipulate scripture to suit his forlorn and detestable false gospel, in turn being detested and hated by God, just as Esau was hated.

We find the same judgment of God upon Esau in Malachi. Here, in verse 3, the word ‘hated’ is sane’. And guess what? It means to hate! And the one who is hated is counted to be an enemy. God can show this same hatred for individuals, groups or whole nations. A derivative, sani’, adds that the person is ‘held in eversion’. Whether direct or derivative, the meaning is always ‘to hate’. There is no hint whatever that it means ‘love less’! The Theological Wordbook translates this as someone who is odious, an enemy.

God displays the same hatred for the legalistic forms of sacrifices, spiritual adultery and idols themselves. God hates them equally, alongside Esau... who is despised and detested by God. The hatred is for those who are unrepentant sinners. God separates Himself from them and pours His wrath upon them. This hatred by God is the same as the hatred any true saved person must have for sin.

The charge, that God’s hatred for Esau is ‘unrighteousness’ is hotly denied by Paul (Romans 9:14). God cannot be unrighteous; it is impossible! As God told Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Romans 9:15, 16)

God, then, can show mercy to whomever He wishes. He does not need the agreement of men! He is the Potter, Who can use or smash anything He creates. No man can alter that fact, and no man can question whom God hates or loves.

And this supremacy of God is further shown in how He dealt with Pharaoh at the time of Moses. Not only did God hate Pharaoh, but He actually caused him to be born so that he would become God’s enemy, that God could show His might and rule through Pharaoh’s blunders and wrath! Do not attempt to reject this teaching, for God said (Romans 9:20 on): Who can resist His will? Who do you think you are, arguing against God? Can the created thing demand to know why God made him thus? God, then, literally hated Esau, just as He hates everyone who refuses to repent. Instead of trying to twist scripture, make very sure you are not hated by God!

© February 2014

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Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
United Kingdom