The War of First-Borns and the Limp of Jacob

The war between first-born brothers is from the ages, beginning with Abel and Cain (Genesis 4). It is ongoing. A war was even apparent in the womb of Rebekah as Jacob grabs Esau’s heel (Genesis 25:26). The title and blessing of first born in this chapter was forfeited by shallowness first and then stolen through deception (Genesis 27). An often despised story, but nonetheless leading to Christ the Messiah.

Why did God keep silent? Or did He? Did He not confront the birthright thief as the Angel of God resulting in a handicap (Genesis 32) for him and a reminder for us of his deception? And until when?

Romans 3:25. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. 26 He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

1 Corinthians: 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that NO ONE may boast before Him.

If the Messiah came from Esau’s first-born birthright, one might be weakly able to say His descendants could boast. But descendants of Jacob’s deception could not. We are justified by Christ, not His lineage.

Hebrews 12:22-24. What you have come to is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where the millions of angels have gathered for the festival, with the whole Church in which everyone is a ‘first-born son’ and a citizen of heaven. You have come to God himself, the supreme Judge, and been placed with spirits of the saints who have been made perfect; and to Jesus, the mediator who brings a new covenant and a blood for purification which pleads more insistently than Abel’s.


Troparion of Saint James

O Holy James, as a disciple of the Lord, you received the Gospel. As a martyr, you displayed an unyielding will. As a brother of God, you have special power with Him. As a hierarch, you have the right of intercession. Intercede therefore with Christ God that He may save our souls.