Was Jesus the man who wrestled with Jacob?
The "Iglesia Ni Cristo" teaches that Jesus did not pre-exist. However, some narratives in the Bible, such as the story of the man who wrestled with Jacob, seem to teach that Jesus pre-existed. Does this passage really teach that Jesus pre-existed?
When we read Genesis 32, we see that the man who wrestled with Jacob must be Jesus.
Jacob prayed for God to deliver him.
Jacob was about to meet with his brother Esau, whom he had cheated. He prayed that God would deliver him from Esau's anger.
Genesis 32:11 (ESV) - 11 Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children.
We will see that God did indeed personally visit Jacob and deliver him.
Jacob wrestled with a man.
We see that it was a man who wrestled with Jacob.
Genesis 32:24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.
Jacob wrestled with God.
However, we are also told that it was God who wrestled with Jacob!
Hosea 12:3-4 (ESV) - 3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel,
and in his manhood he strove with God.
4 He strove with the angel and prevailed;
he wept and sought his favor.
He met God at Bethel,
and there God spoke with us
This man who is also God could only be one person. It is Jesus who is both God and man.
The man said that he was God.
Furthermore, the man calls himself God.
Genesis 32:26 (ESV) - 26 Then he said, "Let me go, for the day has broken." But Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." 27 And he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed."
The man was not primarily referring to a different event upon which he had wrestled with God, but this event. In his prayers for deliverence from the hand of Esau, he wrestled with God. To illustrate the spiritual wrestling that Jacob had done, God came down and physically wrestled Jacob to make this point known.
God named Israel.
Furthermore, we are told that it was not a mere man who wrestled Jacob, but God.
Genesis 35:10 (ESV) - 10 And God said to him, "Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name." So he called his name Israel.
2 Kings 17:34 (ESV) - 34 To this day they do according to the former manner. They do not fear the Lord, and they do not follow the statutes or the rules or the law or the commandment that the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel.
Who could this man who is also God be? It must be Jesus!
The man did not tell him his name.
Genesis 32:29 (ESV) - 29 Then Jacob asked him, "Please tell me your name." But he said, "Why is it that you ask my name?" And there he blessed him.
Why did the man not tell him his name. .
Who's name is wonderful? It is Jesus' name that is wonderful!
Jacob knew that he had seen God.
Genesis 32:30 (ESV) - 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered."
Jacob named the place, "Peniel", meaning "face of God". Jacob saw God face to face! Of course, no one has ever seen the Father, so the man who he saw who was also God must be the Son! Jacob saw Jesus.
The INC foolishly denies the pre-existence of Christ and his deity. If he did not pre-exist and if he is not God, then we would have no way of explaining the man who wrestled with Jacob and all the scriptures that say this one who wrestled with him and named him was God. Jacob saw God face to face in the pre-incarnate person of Jesus.